Maxine Hong Kingston, a woman who never tires
I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes – The Woman Warrior
Maxine Hong Kingston is a Chinese-American writer, best known for being the author of The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, a memoir discussing concepts of gender, ethnicity and identity. Using a revolutionary dream-like writing style she has written several novels and essays, combining autobiography and Chinese folktales, as Kristopher Fortin explains.
As The New York Times said in 1976 about The Woman Warrior, her work is
[…] an investigation of soul . . . Its sources are dream and memory, myth and desire. Its crises are crises of the heart in exile from roots that bind and terrorize it.
Maxine is the eldest of six American-born children of Chinese immigrant parents. Her father went to New York City in 1924 and started working in a laundry although he was a scholar. Kingston’s mother joined her husband in the US in 1939.
Kingston was born in October 27, 1940 in Stockton, California. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, as a scholarship student, and graduated in 1962. There she met Earll Kingston, an actor who married to in 1962.
The Woman Warrior, Memoirs of a Girl Among Ghosts, her first book, was published in 1976. It combines myth, family history, folktales and memories of her girlhood between Chinese and Western culture. The narrative was immediately welcome, and won the 1976 National Book Critics’ Circle Award for nonfiction, making her an instant celebrity at age 36.
According to Julian Guthrie, the book
assailed by some as “un-Chinese,” was hailed by others for everything from its magical realist style to its breakthrough explorations of gender, ethnicity and immigrant life.
Kingston has published more narratives, articles, essays and poems during her career. Here you have a list of her works apart from The Woman Warrior, 1976:
- China Men, 1980
- Hawai’i One Summer, 1987
- Through the Black Curtain, 1987
- Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, 1989
- To Be the Poet, 2002
- The Fifth Book of Peace, 2003
- Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, 2006
- I Love a Broad Margin to My Life, 2011
Over her career, she has been awarded many times. Among her most important recognitions there can be found the following ones:
- 1976: General Nonfiction Award; National Book Critics Circle for The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts.
- 2006: Lifetime Achievement Award; from the Asian American Literary Awards.
- 2008: Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters; from National Book Foundation.
So that it would be very interesting to attend to:
the speech the author had at Berkeley in 11th April 2011:
Kingston also communicates in the web, although she has not her own official page or blog. She also makes use of social networks; here you could visit her Facebook profile.
If you want to know more about…
- the author’s life and work, have a look to: UNCP’s, Bio.truestory’s or Infoplease’s files.
- the The Woman Warrior and its stories, you should visit Wikipedia’s useful and trustful article, Cliff Notes‘s page, or Spark Notes’s page.
- Jenn D. Knudsen (2006). Maxine Hong Kingston, in University of California at Berkeley. Retrieved December 7, 2011 from http://journalism.berkeley.edu/projects/oakland/culture/maxine.html
- Jess Row (2007, March 27). Maxine Hong Kingston’s secrets and lie, in Slat. Retrieved November 21, 2011 from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/memoir_week/2007/03/the_woman_warrior_at_30.html
- Julian Guthrie, Chronicle Staff Writer (2011, January 23). Maxine Hong Kingston embarks on new life chapter, in SFGate.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011 from http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-01-23/news/27044868_1_maxine-hong-kingston-myth-new-life-chapter
- Kristopher Fortin (2008, April 27). What Maxine Hong Kingston dreams of … and writes, in Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2011 from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2008/04/maxine-hong-kin.html
- Maxine Hong Kingston. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved November 30, 2011 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/318754/Maxine-Hong-Kingston
First quote retrieved December 7, 2011 from Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior, Memoirs of a Girl Among Ghosts, Picador, 1981, page 34.
Maxine Hong Kingston’s photo retrieved December 2, 2011 from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/04/27/hong.jpg
Video retrieved December 2, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3DtBRZeMq8, in Youtube.