Honoring Maxine Hong Kingston

May 10, 2023 |
Berkeley, CA
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The Berkeley Program Committee hosted a celebration of author Maxine Hong Kingston receiving the Academy’s Emerson-Thoreau Medal for her distinguished achievement in the field of literature. The program featured remarks by UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, Academy President David Oxtoby, and Kingston. Following the award presentation, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Kingston engaged in lively conversation about the creative process and her work.  

Kingston is known for the way her works – which include The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey  (His Fake Book), and The Fifth Book of Peace – continuously redraw the boundaries between autobiography, essay, fiction, and poetry. She has shared her belief in the power of writing throughout her extensive teaching career, which has ranged from working with college students to creating writing communities for veterans of foreign wars. 

The award, named after Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, was first given to Robert Frost in 1958 and has since been presented to several notable authors, including T.S. Eliot, Hannah Arendt, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood. A full list of award recipients is online, as is the press release announcing this award

Maxine Hong Kingston Receives the Emerson-Thoreau Medal