Pearl Snydenstricker Bucks was born in west virginia and taken to China as an infant before the turn of the century. The daughter of Presbyterian missionaries, she lived with her family in a town in the interior rather than the traditional missionary compound. Buck grew up speaking Chinese as well as English and received most of her education from her mother. She received an M.A. from Cornell and taught English literature in several Chinese universities before she was forced to leave the country in 1932 because of the revolution.
She wrote 85 books and is the most widely translated American author to this day. She has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the William Dean Howells Award, and the Nobel Prize for Literature. She died in 1973.