Alice was born in Footscray, Victoria, a month after her parents Kuan and Kien arrived in Australia. Alice’s father, Kuan - a survivor of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime - named her after Lewis Carroll’s character because after surviving the Killing Fields, he thought Australia was a Wonderland. Alice is the oldest of four - she has a brother, Alexander, and two sisters, Alison and Alina.
Alice grew up in Footscray and Braybrook, and changed high schools five times - almost once every year! These experiences have shaped her as a writer because they taught her how to pay attention to the quiet young adults that others might overlook or miss.
Alice Pung’s first book, Unpolished Gem, is an Australian bestseller which won the Australian Book Industry Newcomer of the Year Award and was shortlisted in the Victorian and NSW Premiers’ Literary awards. It was published in the UK and USA in separate editions and has been translated into several languages including Italian, German and Indonesian.
Alice’s next book, Her Father’s Daughter, won the Western Australia Premier’s Award for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Victorian and NSW Premiers’ Literary awards and the Queensland Literary Awards.
Alice's latest book Laurinda has been shortlisted for numerous awards in 2015, and she has also been shortlisted as Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelist of the Year.
Alice also edited the collection Growing Up Asian in Australia and her writing has appeared in the Monthly, the Age, and The Best Australian Stories and
The Best Australian Essays. Her series of children's books, 'Meet Marly' from the Our
Australian Girl series are published in 2015.
Alice is a qualified lawyer and still works as a legal researcher in the area of minimum wages and pay equity. She lives with her husband Nick at Janet Clarke Hall, the University of Melbourne, where she is the Artist in Residence.
In 2008 Alice was the Asialink Writer-in-Residence at Peking University, and in 2009 Alice attended the Iowa International Writing Program as the Australian writer representative.
In 2010 Alice was the US Department of State's Australian Representative of the Fall and Recovery Tour of disaster and conflict sites in America.
Alice has also given guest lectures at Vassar College and Brown University; and spoken about literary translation at the University of Bologna, the University of Milan and the University of Pisa with her Italian translator and friend Adele D'Arcangelo.
This site was especially created for students and teachers and anyone generally interested in Alice's work. It contains interviews, articles, essays, teacher's notes, and useful resources.
Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities in Australia as well as around the world. She has lectured at universities and schools all around Australia and overseas, and taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80.