Hilary Spurling in conversation with Xinran

Filed under: Non-fiction

Hilary Spurling and Xinran discuss China, chaired by Emily Buchanan.

In Burying the Bones, released in paperback this spring, Hilary Spurling tells the story of Pearl Buck, born to American missionaries in Imperial China in 1892. As a child, Buck often found, and buried, the remains of baby girls thrown out for feral dogs to devour, and as she grew older she witnessed at first hand the sexual bondage of Chinese women. Her novel The Good Earth (1937) was an overnight sensation, opening Western eyes to the realities of Chinese life, and making Pearl Buck the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. In Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, Xinran tells the heartbreaking stories of Chinese women who have been forced to give up their daughters for adoption, or to abandon them, or even to watch them being taken away and drowned. In a discussion chaired by BBC World Affairs Correspondent Emily Buchanan, who adopted two Chinese girls and is author of From China with Love – A Long Road to Motherhood, Hilary Spurling and Xinran talk about a century of suffering, courage and astonishing resilience.

Recorded on Monday 9 May 2011 at Kings Place.

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Hilary Spurling 2005