Pearl S. Buck’s literary and humanitarian achievements throughout the course of her life have earned her a special place in the history of the state of West Virginia.

A partnership among West Virginia University, the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation, the West Virginia Humanities Council, and West Virginia Wesleyan College will be hosting the first Pearl S. Buck Living Gateway Conference from Sept. 11-13 at the Erickson Alumni Center.

“The purpose of this partnership and this conference is to promote the life and legacy of Pearl S. Buck, one of West Virginia’s most distinguished natives,” says Jay Cole, a senior advisor to President E. Gordon Gee and one of the organizers of the conference.

Buck hails from Hillsboro, West Virginia, and was the first American woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. She is best known for her fiction novel, The Good Earth.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Kang Liao, Ph. D., an associate professor at Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and an adjunct faculty member of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Shortly after completing his Ph.D. in English from WVU in 1995, he authored Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Bridge Across the Pacific in 1997.

Cole says that the conference is open to the public, but encourages those that wish to attend, to register using the conference website:

At the conclusion of the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to take a bus trip to Hillsboro, W. Va. to visit Buck’s birthplace.

“By the end of this conference, we hope to establish an international network of Pearl S. Buck readers, students, and fans who will stay connected after they leave Morgantown and who will increase awareness about her work,” said Cole. “We also hope to strengthen the reputation of WVU and West Virginia as a major center for Pearl S. Buck scholarship.”

This program is part of the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative, a joint venture of the Pulitzer Prizes Board and the Federation of State Humanities Councils in celebration of the 2016 centennial of the Prizes. The initiative seeks to illuminate the impact of journalism and the humanities on American life today, to imagine their future and to inspire new generations to consider the values represented by the body of Pulitzer Prize-winning work. For their generous support of the Campfires Initiative, we thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Pulitzer Prizes Board, and Columbia University.



CONTACT: Jay Cole; Senior Advisor to the President

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