Since the publication of her first book, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston has been a presence on the literary scene. With a mix of autobiography, fiction, and Chinese myths and legends, Kingston's work reflects her cultural heritage and upbringing. But her success as a writer wasn't guaranteed. As a young girl growing up the daughter of Chinese immigrants in Stockton, California, Kingston initially found public school so challenging that she withdrew into total silence, confounding her teachers, who at one time listed her IQ as zero. Her award-winning work, including The Woman Warrior, winner of the 1976 National Book Critics Circle Award, and China Men, winner of the National Book Award, is widely read throughout the world.