Clare Farrow & Guo Yue

Internationally acclaimed musician Guo Yue and his writer wife Clare Farrow collaborated to write their award-winning book, Little Leap Forward (Barefoot Books) a gentle, lyrical story about friendship and freedom, inspired by Yue’s own childhood during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Guo Yue was born in 1958 in Beijing, China. One of six children, and the son of a violinist, he grew up in a traditional courtyard. In 1982 he came to study the silver flute at the Guildhall School of Music, London. As a musician, Yue has travelled extensively, making recordings and playing on film soundtracks (including The Last Emperor).

Clare Farrow, a freelance arts writer, met Yue in 1994. Their first book Music, Food and Love was published in 2006. Little Leap Forward is their first book for children. Clare has curated the exhibition Childhood Recollections: Memory in Design on the theme of childhood, which was shown at the Roca London Gallery in 2015, and most recently, Timber Rising: Vertical Visions for the Cities of Tomorrow.

Quote in praise of Little Leap Forward

One of the many pleasures of this moving story…is its depiction of how a musical child experiences the world as a symphony of sounds… Yue and Farrow… evoke how Little Leap Forward bears witness with the eye of a poet, the ear of a musician and the transformative imagination of a storyteller.

The New York Times

Did you know…

  • Guo Yue is an amazing cook and runs his own restaurant in London called The Bamboo Flute.

  • The research for Little Leap Forward was mostly based on the stories from his childhood that Yue recounted to Clare with his eyes closed. It was an incredible outpouring of colours, words, smells and sounds, everyday details that had somehow been hidden away – fresh and immediate – in a box in his mind.

  • Clare and Yue live in London with their two children.


Watch some of Clare and Yue's 2017 performance for The Children's Bookshow