True grit does not only exist in the Old West. It transcends time and place, and is found whenever individuals exhibit resilience and perseverance.
It can be found in the lives of people like Bambi Nancy Shen, who will discuss her life as chronicled in her new book, The Uncrushable Rose: A Memoir from Concentration Camp to Becoming a Free Woman, on Sunday, September 29, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W 10th St.
Her presentation is the first of two True Life, True Grit programs, featuring speakers from varied backgrounds who have exhibited courage and stick-to-itiveness.
The series is inspired by this year's Kansas City Big Read subject, Charles Portis' Western novel True Grit.
A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring its transformative power into the lives of citizens. It brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.
In The Uncrushable Rose, Shen reflects on her birth in Saigon in 1939, where being born female conflicted with a patriarchal society. During World War II, Shen and her family were moved to Japanese concentration camps in Indochina, where she spent several of her childhood years. Indeed, Shen's is a life of survival at a crossroads of world events: WWII, the Chinese Civil War, and the Vietnam War.
Her personal life exhibits an equal persistence. She struggled with her mother's disappointment that Shen was born female, moved to the United States to study, and was twice married to homosexual men. This blending of world events and personal strength makes Shen a true model of contemporary true grit.
Shen is a businesswoman, author, teacher, international tour director, public speaker, interpreter, and co-founder of a nonprofit charitable organization. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, two international students, and three dogs.
Admission is free. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.