Folklife Center set to host Pearl S. Buck portrayal

Actress, playwright, and storyteller Karen Vuranch will present a first-person portrayal of award-winning author and West Virginia native Pearl S. Buck at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 13, at The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center. This event is free and open to the public.

The Frank and Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation, and perpetuation of our region’s rich cultural heritage. Vuranch’s presentation is part of The Women’s Lyceum, a celebration of Appalachian Women.

For this event Vuranch will be presenting novelist Pearl S. Buck who was born on June 26, 1892 as Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Her parents were Southern Presbyterian missionaries who were stationed in China where she lived most of her life.

Pearl S. Buck published over 100 novels, 73 short stories, and more than 200 articles. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “The Good Earth” and was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pearl Buck was a social activist and humanitarian, speaking up on a number of causes, including civil rights, women’s rights and children’s causes. Karen Vuranch, as Pearl S. Buck relates the Asian culture through the eyes of an American woman living in China. Her presentation is known as a moving portrayal of one of the important women of the twentieth century.

Karen Vuranch has a master’s in Humanities from West Virginia Graduate College and teaches theatre, speech, and Appalachian Studies at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia. In addition to playing novelist Pearl S. Buck, Karen plays labor activist Mother Jones, Civil War soldier and spy Emma Edmunds, Wild West outlaw Belle Starr, chef Julia Child, and beloved children’s author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Her work has been honored in many ways including with the Tamarack Fellowship for music and video, the Robert C. Byrd Community Service Award from the Corridor L Tourism Commission, in 2004 she was also honored by The West Virginia Storytelling Guild with their Robert McWhorter Achievement Award.

The Women’s Lyceum will continue on October 15 with author Kathy Manley. Manley will read from her memoir, Don’t Tell Them You’re Cold, a story of overcoming poverty. The Lyceum will conclude on October 28 with storyteller Ilene Evans as Memphis Tennessee Garrison, a teacher from the West Virginia coal fields who rose to national prominence with the NAACP. Both of these events begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

For additional information about the Women’s Lyceum, call the Folklife Center at 304-367-4403.

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