Though she was born in Shanghai, the New York Times
has called Anchee Min "a wild, passionate and fearless American writer." At the age of 17, Min was sent to a labor camp near the East China Sea, where she endured unthinkable hardships until she was spotted one day by talent scouts in the cotton field. In 1984, with the help of a friend overseas, Min left China for Chicago. Within six months, she had taught herself English, in part by watching American television shows like Sesame Street
and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
. Within 10 years, she had published her best-selling memoir, Red Azalea
, weaving the story of her childhood in communist China, which has been compared to The Diary of Anne Frank
. Her books attempt to re-record histories that have been falsely written, often praised as historical fiction of the first order. Her most recent book, Pearl of China
, is a fictional account of the 40 years that writer Pearl S. Buck
spent in China.