Maxine Hong Kingston enjoyed a long hug and handshake from President Obama as she received the National Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artists, reports KGO/ABC7.
Kingston taught at UC Berkeley and is best known for her best selling novels Women Warrior and China Men.
Fellow Chinese American author Amy Tan praised Hong Kingston as her mentor.
“Maxine is first of all, the first person to ever write about the immigrant experience of the Chinese American. People think it was me, but it was really Maxine.” said Tan.
Many of Hong Kingston’s papers are kept at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library.
“She wanted her students to know that if you are going to communicate, you have to communicate with deliberation and great thought to get the message across properly,” Peter Hanff from The Bancroft Library said.
You can watch the entire ceremony below. Hong Kingston receives her award 10 minutes into the video.