For teaching resources on Alice's books, please visit Teaching Resources.

One Hundred Days

‘One Hundred Days is the tale of mothers and daughters the world over – the relationships we navigate, the weight of our histories, and how, no matter the fractures life throws between us, our daughters will always hum us home. Pung’s characters are so real, I could feel them in the room. There is no word out of place, no sentence that doesn’t sing with poetry. This is truly fiction at its fiercest. It is a masterpiece, a triumph – Pung’s greatest work yet.’ —Maxine Beneba Clarke


One hundred days. It’s no time at all, she tells me. But she’s not the one waiting.


In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna’s mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world – and make sure she can’t get into any more trouble.


Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life forms and grows within her. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby – who it will call Mum – festers between them.


One Hundred Days is a fractured fairytale exploring the faultlines between love and control. At times tense and claustrophobic, it is nevertheless brimming with humour, warmth and character. 


Close to Home: Selected Writings

"Reading her, you feel welcomed into an atmosphere which is good-humoured and benevolent, charged with powerful love, and yet at the same time mercilessly scrubbed of sentimentality"

- Helen Garner


This delightful collection brings together Alice Pung’s most loved writing, on migration, family, identity, art and more. Warm, funny, moving and unfailingly honest, this is Alice Pung at her best – an irresistible delight for fans and new readers alike.


In 2006, Alice Pung published Unpolished Gem, her award-winning memoir of growing up Chinese-Australian in working-class Footscray. Since then, she has written on everything from the role of grandparents to the corrosive effects of racism; from the importance of literature to the legacy of her parents’ migration from Cambodia as asylum seekers. In all of this, a central thread is the idea of home: how the places we live and the connections we form shape who we become, and what homecoming can mean to those who build their lives in Australia.


‘Alice Pung is a gem. Her voice is the real thing.’ —Amy Tan 

Writers on Writers: Alice Pung on John Marsden

"I keep coming back to John Marsden. What makes him so fascinating to me is that he approaches writing for young adults with a whole philosophy of what it means to be a teenager – a philosophy that’s embedded in the two schools he runs, but also in his early experiences with mental illness and hospitalisation. His perspective raises interesting questions about YA fiction – how much darkness is allowed, before you are considered a “bad influence"?"


In the Writers on Writers series, leading authors reflect on an Australian writer who has inspired and fascinated them.


Published by Black Inc. in association with the University of Melbourne and State Library Victoria.


Won the NSW State Library Ethel Turner Prize fro Young People's Literature 2016

Shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards General Fiction Award 2015

Shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2015

Longlisted for the Stella Prize 2015

Longlisted for the Inky Awards 2015

Readings Top 100 Bestseller


‘Nothing has a stronger hold over a girl than the fear of the thoughts of her peers – thoughts that change five times in a day. No wonder things are so complicated with teenagers.’—Alice Pung, Laurinda


Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.


Entering this world of wealth and  is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them, Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.


Few genres are more enthralling than the school story. Part satire, part coming of age novel, Laurinda explores culture, class and conflict through an involving, original story that captures the minute dramas and searing pangs of school life today.


"Alice Pung totally nails it with Laurinda. Funny, horrifying, and sharp as a serpent’s fangs." - John Marsden


“Based loosely on Pung’s own experiences, the book has an unmissable ring of truth to it, making it all the more compelling and horrifying.” - the Sydney Morning Herald


“Schoolgirl Lucy Lam was one of this year’s best characters – smart, hardworking and brave. Pung tackles big issues with a light touch.” - Herald Sun


“Pung continues to impress with her nuanced storytelling; Laurinda will surely resonate with anyone who remembers the cliquey, hierarchical nature of the playground.” - Sunday Age


“In her debut novel [Pung] successfully dramatizes the high stakes when an impoverished Chinese girl is parachuted into the private system… Pung’s forceful writing reveals the diverse and often difficult lives of her immigrant compatriots too often hidden away from us by masks of discretion.” - the Age


“Biting yet compassionate” - Books of the Year, Australian Book Review


“Exquisitely sharp” - Books of the Year, the Age


“A candid and powerful exploration of family, culture and class … it is those of us who take our fortune and privilege for granted that I wish would read this powerful book.” - Readings Monthly


Her Father's Daughter

Winner, 2011 Western Australian Book Awards


"Pung is one of the best young writers in Australia. Her Father's Daughter is an exhilarating journey. Take it." - Walkley Magazine


At twenty-something, Alice is eager for the milestones of adulthood: leaving home, choosing a career, finding friendship and love on her own terms. But with each step she takes she feels the sharp tug of invisible threads: the love and worry of her parents, who want more than anything to keep her from harm. Her father fears for her safety to an extraordinary degree – but why?


As she digs further into her father's story, Alice embarks on a journey of painful discovery: of memories lost and found, of her own fears for the future, of history and how it echoes down the years. Set in Melbourne, China and Cambodia, Her Father's Daughter captures a father–daughter relationship in a moving and astonishingly powerful way.


Praise for Her Father's Daughter:


“Pung has an extraordinary story to tell and the finesse to bring it, most movingly to the page.” – The Monthly


“A tender, sophisticated sequel to Unpolished Gem, told with humour, compassion, finesse and powerful imagery.” - Wet Ink


“Pung makes everything she writes about shine” – The Australian


“A beautiful exploration of father-daughter relationships.” – Vogue


“Remarkably tender and thoughtful.” – Sunday Age



Winner of the Non-Fiction Prize in the 2011 Western Australian Book Awards

Shortlisted in the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Shortlisted in the 2012 NSW Premier's Literary Awards

Shortlisted in the 2012 Queensland Literary Awards

Buy Her Father's Daughter here.

'Happily Out of the Ordinary' - Delia Falconer, 2011

Unpolished Gem

Winner, 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards

‘Alice Pung is a gem. Her voice is the real thing.’ —Amy Tan


This story does not begin on a boat. Nor does it contain any wild swans or falling leaves.


In a wonderland called Footscray, a girl named Alice and her Chinese-Cambodian family pursue the Australian Dream – Asian style. Armed with an ocker accent, Alice dives head- first into schooling, romance and the getting of wisdom. Her mother becomes an Aussie battler – an outworker, that is. Her father embraces the miracle of franchising and opens an electrical-appliance store. And every day her grandmother blesses Father Government for giving old people money.



Unpolished Gem is a book rich in comedy, a loving and irreverent portrait of a family, its everyday struggles and bittersweet triumphs. With it, Australian writing gains an unforgettable new voice.




‘There’s something striking on every page of Unpolished Gem.’ —Helen Garner


Unpolished Gem is virtuoso storytelling.’ —The Australian


‘A memoir so vivid that images from it linger behind your eyelids.’ —The Age


‘... offer(s) a rare bicultural vantage point on Australian multiculturalism’ —The Sydney Morning Herald


‘... intelligent and touching’ —The Herald Sun


Unpolished Gem is a delightful read – a funny, touching debut from a writer we’re sure to hear more from.’ —The Courier Mail





Winner- Australian Newcomer of the Year in the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards

Shortlisted - Australian Biography of the Year and Australian Book of the Year in the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards

Shortlisted - 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Awards

Shortlisted - 2007 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

Shortlisted - 2007 Age Book of the Year Awards

Shortlisted - 2006 Colin Roderick Award

Shortlisted - 2007 The Westfield/Waverley Library Award for Literature

Selected in the 2007 Books Alive Great Read Guide

Voted one of Victoria’s top 5 summer reads in the State Library of Victoria's Summer Read program.

Buy Unpolished Gem here.

Growing Up Asian in Australia

Edited by Alice Pung

Asian-Australians have often been written about by outsiders, as outsiders. In this collection, compiled by award-winning author Alice Pung, they tell their own stories with verve, courage and a large dose of humour. These are not predictable tales of food, festivals and traditional dress. The food is here in all its steaming glory - but listen more closely to the dinner-table chatter and you might be surprised by what you hear.


Here are tales of leaving home, falling in love, coming out and finding one's feet. A young Cindy Pan vows to win every single category of Nobel Prize. Tony Ayres blows a kiss to a skinhead and lives to tell the tale. Benjamin Law has a close encounter with some angry Australian fauna, and Kylie Kwong makes a moving pilgrimage to her great-grandfather's Chinese village.

Here are well-known authors and exciting new voices, spanning several generations and drawn from all over Australia. In sharing their stories, they show us what it is really like to grow up Asian, and Australian.


Contributors include: Shaun Tan, Jason Yat-Sen Li, John So, Annette Shun Wah, Quan Yeomans, Jenny Kee, Anh Do, Khoa Do, Caroline Tran and many more.


“The themes are rich, the writing sharp, the humour crisp and the reflections deeply moving.”—Waleed Aly, The Sunday Age


“A warm, ticklish, heart-wrenching, hilarious and above-all joyful romp through the childhoods of Asian-Australians.”—Frankie

Buy Growing Up Asian in Australia here.


'Happily Out of the Ordinary' - Delia Falconer, 2011

'Memories of Relative Unease' - The Age

The Age - Unpolished Gem 2006
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Sydney Morning Herald 2006
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Australian Book Review 2007
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Adelaide Advertiser - 2007
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White House Project 2007
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Canberra Times 2008
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