Lijia Zhang is a rocket-factory worker turned freelance journalist, social commentator and the author of Socialism is Great! A Worker's Memoir of the New China. Born into a poor working class family in Nanjing, on the banks of Yangtze River, Lijia excelled at school, and dreamt of becoming a writer and a journalist. In 1980, aged 16, she was dragged out of school and put to work at a military factory that produced intercontinental missiles. As an escape route, she taught herself English and took solace in literature. She arrived in England in 1990, and studied journalism. Returning to China three years later, she started a career by helping foreign correspondents before becoming a journalist in her own right. Articles, usually commentary pieces on China’s social, cultural and political changes, have been published in South China Morning Post, Far Eastern Economic Review, Japan Times, The Guardian, Newsweek and The New York Times. Her first fiction project – Lotus – tells the story of a young working girl, set in modern day Shenzhen, known as China’s ‘capital of sins’.