Alice Pung is a bestselling writer whose work spans fiction, memoir, nonfiction and children’s fiction. A recurring theme of her work is the importance of acknowledging Asian-Australians as part of Australia’s national identity and her creative output is striking for its ability to communicate this to a broad readership of varying ages.
Pung was born in Footscray a month after her Chinese-Cambodian parents arrived in Australia. Her father was a survivor of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, his experiences recounted by Pung in her award-winning book Her Father’s Daughter. Pung grew up in Footscray and Braybrook and works such as Unpolished Gem and Laurinda draw on her experiences. She was editor of the pivotal collection Growing Up Asian in Australia and is also author of the Marly series of books for children.
Pung has won numerous awards, including the Australian Book Industry Newcomer of the Year Award, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award for Non-Fiction. She has also been shortlisted several times for the Victorian and NSW Premiers’ Literary Awards and for the Queensland Literary Awards. Her work has been translated into numerous languages, sold throughout the US, Asia and Europe, and taught in secondary schools and universities in Australia and abroad.
Pung is a practising lawyer who currently works in the areas of pay equity and minimum wages.