Alice Pung OAM is one of Australia's foremost writers. She wrote the memoirs Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter, and edited anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson. Her debut novel Laurinda won the Ethel Turner Prize at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and has been adapted for the stage. Her second novel, One Hundred Days, was shortlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin Award. She is also the author of children's books including Be Careful, Xiao Xin! (ill. Sher Rill Ng). Today, we're discussing her new children's series Millie Mak the Maker. Alice was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to literature in 2022.
Our interview begins at 30:00
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A must-read of the Aussie young adult canon and a book we've meant to read for years. We're so glad we finally read this beautiful, heartfelt exploration of Lucy Lam's experience at a prestigious Melbourne girls' school.
In this interview, we chat about:
How the working-class suburbs of Australia where Alice grew up inspired the story of Millie Mak
Inspiring young girls to make and craft
The class and privilege of children's toys and upcycling
The magic of finding an illustrator to collaborate with who also understands the nuances of growing up in a country with a history of colonialism
How Alice has managed to write across so many age ranges
Why One Hundred Days became Alice's debut adult novel
The experience of seeing Laurinda adapted for the stage
Please note that we choose podcast guests independently of Caitlin's job at HarperCollins Publishers. Although her job does help put us in touch with authors, we choose our guests based on what we've enjoyed reading and think you'd find interesting.