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Maxine Hong Kingston

Maxine Hong Kingston is an author and professor who has written extensively about the experience of Chinese Americans.

Born in Stockton to immigrant parents, Maxine Hong was named after a lucky patron at her father’s gambling house. She began writing at an early age and studied English at UC Berkeley. It was there she met actor Earll Kingston. They married in 1962, and Kingston settled into a career teaching high school English.

In 1976, she published The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. A blend of autobiography and fiction, it was the first commercially successful novel by an Asian American woman featuring a Chinese American woman protagonist. It received the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of Time magazine’s top nonfiction books of the 1970s.

Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, published in 1990, is another work of fiction that blends in Kingston’s personal experiences. The novel, which won the prestigious PEN award, features a protagonist of Chinese descent student at UC Berkeley during the tumultuous 1960s.

Kingston was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Clinton and the Nation Medal of the Arts by President Obama.

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