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Pearl S. Buck Writing Competition nears its deadline, cash prizes, scholarship

WVU plans Pearl S. Buck  ‘Living Gateway’ Conference Sept. 11-13

GLENVILLE, W.Va. — The late Pearl S. Buck, a Mountain State native, Nobel Prize author and humanitarian, has been the subject of a broadly-based West Virginia University Libraries Committee’s effort to revive her life and legacy to the general public, students and scholars.Born in Hillsboro (Pocahontas County) in 1892, Miss Buck went on to write over 100 books, one of which The Good Earth won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1932 and was made into a movie. Then, in 1938, she claimed the Nobel Prize for her literature in general. She lived half of her life in China and final half in the United States, so her books uniquely span both the Eastern and Western cultures and have been translated into over 60 foreign languages. She died in March 1973, before her Hillsboro birthplace was restored and opened as a museum to the general public.

So far, the committee’s initiative has been two-pronged: to sponsor a Pearl Buck Writing Contest and to hold an international conference on the author’s multifaceted legacy.

First of all, West Virginia’s high school and college (undergraduate and graduate) students are invited to submit an original piece of any literary genre that best reflects the life and values of Pearl S. Buck. The writing should reflect one or all of the following: 1. Expression of appreciation for differences and different cultures, including, but not limited to Appalachia and China; 2. Social justice; and 3. WomenÕs perspectives.

Dr. Melanie Page, a WVU creative programs administrator who is spearheading this project, emphasizes that the deadline to submit is Fri., Apr. 15, 2016. The word limit is 10,000. Entries are to be submitted to Dr. Page at [email protected].

Continuing, she explains that for the high school students, the winning prize is $250 and a scholarship to the WVU English Department’s WV Writer’s Workshop; for the college students, the prize is $1,000. Visit for more contest details.

Secondly, and to promote a further exploration into the author’s wide-ranging legacy, a Pearl S. Buck Living Gateway Conference is scheduled for this September 11-13 at WVU in Morgantown. The keynote speaker will be University of Pennsylvania distinguished English professor Dr. Peter Conn, author of Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography.

In addition, the conference will include a variety of presentations and discussions related to Miss Buck, a tour of her manuscripts collection, dramatic performances, social receptions and a tour of the Pearl Buck Birthplace Museum, the latter if an attendee’s time permits, according to Dr. Jay Cole, Senior Advisor to WVU President, Dr. E. Gordon Gee. “We hope that the public and our state’s students and teachers will join us to celebrate the life and accomplishments of this outstanding West Virginia author, one of only about 10 Americans to win both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes,” Dr. Cole says.

Conference information can be found at:

As part of the national celebration of the Pulitzer Prize program’s centennial, the WVU conference is being cosponsored with the West Virginia Humanities Council, West Virginia Wesleyan College and the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation, along with input from the Pearl Buck International Foundation, of Philadelphia, PA.

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