Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born in 1892 in West Virginia. Her parents were Southern Presbyterian missionaries, most often stationed in China, and from childhood, Pearl spoke both English and Chinese. She returned to China in 1914, and married John Lossing Buck. They immediately moved to Nanhsuchou in rural Anhwei province.
In 1931, John Day published Pearl's second novel, The Good Earth. This was the bestselling book of both 1931 and 1932, and won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1938 Pearl won the Nobel Prize in literature, the first American woman to do so. By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl had published more than seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biography and autobiography, poetry, drama, children's literature, and translations from the Chinese.
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