The family of Maxine Hong Kingston shared a letter it wrote to the author after hearing she would receive the highest federal honor awarded to artists, the National Medal of the Arts.
Kingston is scheduled to receive the award along with other recipients at the White House today at Noon Eastern/9 Pacific from President Obama .
The letter was published in the Stockton Record.
“We’re all so proud of you. I can imagine that Mom and Pop would be especially proud,” wrote brother Norman on behalf of the entire family. “I can see Mom getting all excited repeating over and over again that you graduated from Berkeley, taught in Berkeley, wrote books that are even published in China and are now being honored by the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE WHITE HOUSE. Pop would look on, taking it all in, quietly expressing his immense pride internally and faintly smiling. We’ll be watching on live streaming. Good luck and say hello to the Pres.”
Kingston was born in Stockton, California and entered UC Berkeley as one of the first women majoring in engineering. She ended up graduating with a degree in English in 1962 and went on to write the award winning books Women Warrior and China Men.
In announcing the award the White House said “Her novels and nonfiction have examined how the past influences our present, and her voice has strengthened our understanding of Asian American identity, helping shape our national conversation about culture, gender, and race.”
Also receiving an award today will be architect Billie Tsien who is best known for his works designing buildings for museums, schools and other non-profits.
You can read more about Hong Kingston’s life in the Stockton Record.
You can watch the award presentation on live stream from the White House.