Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, 2008

Maxine Hong Kingston Accepts the NBF's Lifetime Achievement Award from National Book Foundation on Vimeo.

Maxine Hong Kingston

Maxine Hong Kingston was born to Chinese immigrant parents in Stockton, California in 1940 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. A long-time member of the Berkeley faculty, she is currently Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing.

Her nonfiction books include The Woman Warrior, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, China Men, which was awarded the National Book Award in 1981, Hawaii One Summer, Through the Black Curtain, To Be the Poet, and The Fifth Book of Peace. She has written one novel, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book. Kingston is the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the title of “Living Treasure of Hawaii.”


Maxine Hong Kingston photo © Gail K. Evenari.


Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, Koa Books, 2006

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
Knopf distributed by Random House, 1976

China Men
Knopf, 1980

Through the Black Curtain
University of California Press, Berkeley, 1987

Hawai'i One Summer (essays)
Meadow Press, San Francisco, 1987

Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (novel)
Knopf, 1989

To Be the Poet (nonfiction)
Harvard University Press, 2002

The Fifth Book of Peace
(nonfiction), Brent, 2006


National Book Award Winner for General Nonfiction
China Men (1981)

National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
The Woman Warrior (1976)

National Humanities Medal (1997)
Presented by President Bill Clinton

Suggested Links

Powells.com Interview
Maxine Hong Kingston After the Fire -- Almost three decades ago, Maxine Hong Kingston published The Woman Warrior.

TIME Magazine, 60 Years of Asian Heroes:
Maxine Hong Kingston

She overturned traditional notions of what it meant to be a Chinese woman.

Maxine Hong Kingston Teacher Resource Guide
Welcome to the Internet School Library Media Center Maxine Hong Kingston page. You will find biography, lesson plans, and criticism on this page. The ISLMC is a meta-site for librarians, teachers, parents and students.

Maxine Hong Kingston's Random House Page
Ms. Kingston's publisher.

Bill Moyers Journal Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston | PBS
May 25, 2007 On Memorial Day weekend, the JOURNAL presents an illuminating interview with Maxine Hong Kingston, acclaimed author of many books including

UC Berkeley Webcasts | Video and Podcasts
Lunch Poems: Maxine Hong Kingston. February 5, 2004, 03:00PM ... Maxine Hong Kingston burst on the literary scene in 1976 with her book, The Woman Warrior.

The National Book Foundation's Medal for
Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Every fall, in conjunction with the conferring of The National Book Awards in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature, the Board of Directors of the Foundation also presents a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which comes with $10,000. The recipient is a person who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work.