Jonathan D. Spence was born in England and received his B.A. from Cambridge University. In 1966 he received his Ph.D. from Yale University and has been a professor of Chinese history there since that time. Spence has won a variety of major fellowships and has served as visiting professor at Belfast's Queens University, Princeton University, and Beijing University. He employs a distinctive writing and historical style, weaving together various kinds of materials to fashion new forms of historical narrative. The best examples of his unique style are The Death of Woman Wang (1979) and The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci. In his works, Spence provides a uniquely accessible vision of late imperial China. His writings have won numerous awards and prizes. The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1982) won two awards---the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Henry D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters.