Monday, October 28, 2013

Author Anchee Min to begin Pearl S. Buck graduation centennial celebration on Nov. 12

Anchee Min loves telling people about Pearl S. Buck. Although she was raised in China at a time that the country promoted disdain for the American-born author, she eventually discovered Buck’s loving, literary portrayals of China. This inspired Min to not only write Pearl of China, a novel about Buck, but to share the author’s vision whenever she can.

“Pearl S. Buck is my hero,” said Min. “Her views on China are still valid today. I can’t speak enough about her importance and contributions to the world.”

Min’s lecture at Randolph College on November 12 kicks off the College’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Buck’s graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1914.

Anchee Min will speak at Randolph College at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in Wimberly Recital Hall.
Buck spent the first half of her life in China, with the exception of brief visits to the United States and the four years she spent attending college at R-MWC. She spent the second half of her life building bridges between the east and the west through her literature and humanitarian work.

She won the Pulitzer Prize for The Good Earth, a novel depicting the lives of Chinese peasants, and she later won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Buck also started organizations that not only helped Americans understand Asian cultures, but also helped in the adoption and education of mixed-race children and children with disabilities.

Randolph College is celebrating the centennial anniversary of her graduation with several events to help the community learn about and ponder her legacy. View details about the celebration at www.randolphcollege.edu/buck

When Min was a teenager, Buck was trying to obtain a visa to visit her beloved China. However, she was a political and professional enemy of Jiang Qing, also known as “Madame Mao,” the wife of the China’s communist leader. Quing worked to prevent Buck from obtaining a visa with a national campaign that denounced Buck as a cultural imperialist whose books had portrayed Chinese people in a negative light.

In 1996, Min was signing books when someone approached her and said that Buck had taught her to love the Chinese people. She offered Min a copy of The Good Earth, which opened Min’s eyes to the truth about Buck. “I broke down crying on the airplane from Chicago to Los Angeles after I finished reading The Good Earth,” Min said. “I had never known any writer, East or West, who wrote about our peasants with such love and affection.”

Min’s novel, Pearl of China, tells the story of a young girl in China who becomes friends with Buck and remains in contact with her for years, even after Buck leaves China. The book is now available for sale in the Randolph College Campus store.