Maxine Hong Kingston was born in California in 1940. She studied at Berkeley University, California and after initially studying engineering she transferred to English and gained a BA in 1962. She has gone on to teach at high schools and university, in Hawaii and California respectively, and is a renowned author. Her papers from 1952-1999 are kept at the library of Berkeley University where she was made Professor of English. She retired from teaching in 2003.
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1976) is to date her best known work and was awarded the National Book Critics’ Circle award for non-fiction. Her other publications include China Men (1980), Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (1989) and The Fifth Book of Peace (2003). She was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 1997 for her contribution to widening the dominant cultural perspective of Chinese-American immigration.