Maxine Hong Kingston
1940: Maxine Ting Ting Hong is born on 27 October in Stockton, California, to Chinese immigrants, Tom Hong and Ying Lan Chew Hong. She is the first of the couple’s six children born in the United States. (Two children born earlier died in China.)
1954-1958: Kingston attends Edison High School in Stockton. In 1955 her essay “I Am an American” is published in The American Girl, the magazine of the Girl Scouts, winning her a $5 prize.
1958-1962: Kingston wins a journalism scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley, where she majors at first in engineering but later changes her course of study to English. While attending the university she works on the student newspaper, The Daily Californian. She graduates with a B.A. in English in 1962 and on 23 November of that year marries the actor Earll Kingston. 1964: Kingston’s son, Joseph Lawrence Chung Mei Kingston, is born.
1964-1965: Kingston studies for a teaching certificate at the University of California, Berkeley, and works as a student teacher at Oakland Technical High School.
1965-1967: Kingston teaches English and mathematics at Sunset High School in Hayward, California. She is active in the protest movement against the Vietnam War.
1967: Kingston moves with her husband and son to Hawaii, where she teaches English at Kahuku High School in Kahuku.
1968: Kingston teaches at Kahaluu Drop-in School in Kahaluu, Hawaii.
1969: Kingston teaches English as a second language at Honolulu Business College and language arts at Kailua High School in Kailua.
1970-1977: Kingston teaches language arts at the Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu. In 1976 her first book, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, is published by Knopf and wins the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. Kingston’s short story “Duck Boy” is published in the 12 June 1977 issue of The New York Times Magazine.
1977-1981: Kingston is a visiting professor of English at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
1980: Kingston’s China Men is published by Knopf and is named to the American Library Association Notable Books List. She is named a “Living Treasure of Hawaii” by a Honolulu Buddhist sect.
1981: China Men wins the National Book Award for nonfiction, is nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, begins to compile the Maxine Hong Kingston Papers as one of its special collections.
1982: Kingston tours Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong on a trip sponsored by the United States International Communication Agency and the Adelaide Arts Festival in Australia.
1984: Kingston visits China for the first time with a group of six other writers—Alien Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Francine du Plessix Gray, Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, and Harrison Salisbury—on a tour sponsored by the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Chinese Writers Association. Kingston moves with her husband from Hawaii to Los Angeles; their son, Joseph, remains in Hawaii, where he has established himself as a musician.
1986: Kingston is named Thelma McAndless Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Eastern Michigan University.
1987: Kingston’s Hawai’i One Summer, 1978 is published by Meadow Press in a limited edition of two hundred copies. Through the Black Curtain, comprising excerpts from The Woman Warrior, China Men, and the manuscript of her novel-in-progress, “Tripmaster Monkey,” is published by the Friends of the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. She moves with her husband to Oakland, California.
1989: Kingston’s first novel, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, is published by Knopf and wins the PEN/USA West Award for fiction. In November she spends a week at the University of California, Santa Cruz, as a University of California Regents Lecturer.
1990: Kingston is appointed a Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor in the English department at the University of California, Berkeley. The television program Maxine Hong Kingston: Talking Story is produced by Joan Saffa and Stephen Talbot for the Public Broadcasting System station KQED in San Francisco and CrossCurrent Media.
1991: Kingston gives the Martha Heasley Cox Lecture at San Jose State University. In October the Kingstons’ home is destroyed in an Oakland Hills fire, along with all of Kingston’s manuscripts, including a novel-in-progress, provisionally titled “The Book of Peace” or “The Fourth Book of Peace.” She begins work on another manuscript, to be called “The Fifth Book of Peace.”
1992: Kingston receives a fellowship from the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund and uses the prize money to begin writing workshops for veterans of the Vietnam War. She is inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
1993: On a leave of absence from teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Kingston holds a series of workshops, “A Time to Be: Reflective Writing, Mindfulness, and the War: A Time for Veterans and their Families,” through the Community for Mindful Living in Berkeley.
1994: Kingston acts as guest conductor for a benefit concert with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. A dramatized version of The Woman Warrior is produced and performed by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and, later in the year, by the Huntington Theatre Company at Boston University.
1995: Kingston participates in a conference, “Vietnam Legacies: Twenty Years Later,” at the University of California, Davis. The stage adaptation of The Woman Warrior is produced by the Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles.
1997: Kingston returns to teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, and participates in a conference, “Peacemaking: The Power of Nonviolence,” held in San Francisco in June. In September she is presented with a National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton.
1998: Kingston wins the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature for Tripmaster Monkey.