Biographer Spurling, discussing her just published Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China, talked about Pearl Buck’s visceral identification with Chinese peasants, her literary legacy and her amnesia about unpleasant events in her past.
Hilary Spurling is the award-winning biographer of the painter Henri Matisse and novelists Ivy Compton-Burnett and Paul Scott. The second volume of her Matisse biography, Matisse the Master, won the 2005 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. Her books also include The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell, and Invitation to the Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time.
Her latest book, Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China, covers the period when Pearl Buck lived in China through the fall of the empire, famine and revolution.
“Boldly conceived and magnificently written, Burying the Bones should repair Buck’s literary fortunes and restore her to the pantheon of feminist heroines.”
At our very first Salon, Angier and Cline discussed their forthcoming book, which is based on a week-long residential writing workshop they teach, and posed some challenging questions about where the author’s loyalty should lie when writing about themselves and others.
Carole Angier is the biographer of Jean Rhys and Primo Levi. She teaches life writing at Birkbeck College, London University, and works as a one-to-one mentor with emerging writers.
Sally Cline is the author of 10 non-fiction books, including three biographies on Radclyffe Hall, Zelda Fitzgerald and (forthcoming) Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett. She is Writer-in-Residence for Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge, where she mentors their MA in Creative Writing.
This book grew out of a life-writing course taught by Carole Angier and Sally Cline for the Arvon Foundation’s week-long residential writing course. It features 32 pieces by such prominent guest writers as Hilary Spurling, Janet Malcolm and Victoria Glendinning. It is the first of a series of Arvon books discussing the art of writing in different genres.