Alan Burgess wrote the book "The Small Woman," which was published in 1957. "The Small Woman" is a biographical work about Gladys Aylward (1902-1970), an English parlor maid who became a Christian missionary in China. It focuses on her trials and tribulations in China over a 20-year period.
The most notable occurrence in Aylward's life took place during China's war with Japan, when she led a group of 100 homeless children on a 12-day journey over the mountains to reach Xian, where they would be safe from Japanese attacks. Aylward's journey is chronicled in the 1958 film "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness," which is based upon Burgess' account of it in his book "The Small Woman."