Anchee Min

Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957, and grew up during Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1964–1976). As a teenager she was taught to denounce Pearl S. Buck as an American Cultural Imperialist. At the age of seventeen she was sent to a labour collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao recruited her to work in propaganda films as an actress because of her proletarian look. In 1984, at the age of twenty-seven, Anchee Min left China for the United States. She first learned English through American public radio and children’s television programmes and talk shows. To earn a living she worked as a house-cleaner, waitress, fabric-painter, and in construction and plumbing, while going to school at night.

Anchee Min’s memoir Red Azalea was published in 1994 and was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, with rights sold in over twenty countries. Anchee Min is also the author of best-selling historical fiction novels including Becoming Madame Mao, Empress Orchid (a Richard & Judy selection in 2006) and The Last Empress.

Pearl of China, published by Bloomsbury in May 2010 and in paperback April 2011, is the poignant story of a friendship of a lifetime.


Festival Event:
Outsiders / Out of Sight
Tuesday, October 26 2010 @ 6:30

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