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Alice Pung is a writer and lawyer who loves teaching. Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities in Australia as well as the United States, and she has taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80 in Australia, China and the States. Alice is also an Ambassador for the 100 Story Building Project, a social enterprise which helps promote literature and literacy skills to young people in the Western suburbs.
I was born in Footscray, Victoria, and grew up in the suburb of Braybrook. I attended local primary and secondary schools in the Western suburbs, including Tottenham North Primary School, Footscray Girls Secondary College, Christ the King College Braybrook, MacRobertson Girls High School and Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School.
I have worked as a sales girl at my dad’s Retravision store for seven years, an independent art teacher for children, a pastoral care adviser at a university college (Janet Clarke Hall) and a legal researcher at the University of Melbourne. I currently work as a lawyer alongside my writing career, and often guest lecture at universities.
My first book, Unpolished Gem, became the bestselling book at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, won the Australian Book Industry Award’s Newcomer of the Year Award in 2007, and was shortlisted for numerous other state and national awards, including the Premier’s Literary Awards in several states.
In 2008, I was the Asialink literature resident to Peking University, China, and in 2009, I was the Australian representative at the Iowa International Writer’s Program, USA. I have held a position as the Writer in Residence at Ormond College, The University of Melbourne, and currently, I am the Writer in Residence at Janet Clarke Hall, The University of Melbourne.
I’m a frequent contributor to The Monthly and The Age and The Australian newspapers. I’ve also had stories published in Good Weekend, Meanjin and Black Inc. Publishing’s The Best Australian Stories.
I am passionate about education for all ages, and I have worked extensively with students at all levels and ages: from primary schools in Brunswick to youth prisons in Wagga Wagga, from university students in China in to seniors writing memoirs in Sitka, Alaska.
I don’t own a television, iPod or CD player.
Alice was very well received at Awards Night last night by teachers, parents and students. She is a lovely person with a very friendly and approachable demeanour. Her talk hit the mark well.
I wanted to thank you again for your informative, moving and stimulating address yesterday to teachers at Bialik College, as part of our Professional Learning day. Your ideas and perspectives have left us with much to think about and work on in various areas. Many colleagues have commented on your talk – you really connected with us at many levels.
What a down-to-earth, lovely kind person Alice is. Always smiling, happy to pose for photos and answer all questions – the Year 11s could not believe that the editor of their Literacy book “Growing up Asian in Australia” was standing right in front of them. They were truly thrilled to have met such a lovely and entertaining individual. Well spoken, funny and sweet – A true delight.
Just wanted to say how well our event with Alice Pung a few weeks ago went. She was, as always, brilliant and we really appreciate your help with all the arrangements.
Alice Pung came to speak to our Year 12s on Monday and I just wanted to say thank you! She was utterly engaging and fabulous and friendly and professional and the girls loved her talk as did all the Year 12 teachers. Thanks!
I’ve been meaning to email you and say what a pleasure it was to have Alice here the other week. Her presentation was great – she really engaged the kids – she was funny and informative and they loved her. All the feedback from staff and students has been very positive and we would love to have her back again. Thanks for all your help with the organisation of Alice’s visit.
Alice enthralled us all with her stories and anecdotes. In a delightful, humorous and engaging manner she maintained the attention of the girls for over an hour. Alice shifted her focus to ‘Identity and Belonging’ especially for us, which was perfect for the girls; they left the auditorium full of dreams, hopes and ideas.
Alice was wonderful and so inspirational for our students. She did exactly what I hoped for: that is give a talk that gave our students a clear message that you can be yourself despite all the external pressures young people feel. A our students really connected with her. The only thing more I could have wished for was to have more time to chat with Alice myself!
We loved Alice’s author talk! She was very enthusiastic, personable and had evidently tailored anecdotes/material to suit the occasion perfectly.