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Matt Raymond from the Library of Congress speaks with Anchee Min, who appeared at the 2010 National Book Festival on September 25, 2010, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Anchee Min was born in Shanghai during the rule of communist leader Mao Zedong. She was chosen to become a leader of the Little Red Guards, a group of elementary school children who supported Mao’s ideas. At the age of 17, she was sent to a labor camp, where she discovered the truth about the Chinese leader. After suffering a severe spinal cord injury, eventually, in 1984, she left China for America. She spoke no English when she arrived in Chicago, but within six months had taught herself the language in part by watching “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Her books have been praised for their raw, sharp language and historical accuracy. They include “Becoming Madame Mao,” “The Last Empress” and her current novel, “Pearl of China” (Bloomsbury), which tells the story of Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck. As a teenager Min had been taught to denounce Buck as an American cultural imperialist.
About the 2010 National Book Festival
The 2010 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, was held on Saturday, September 25, 2010, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.