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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Mini book club: Laurinda by Alice Pung
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
Books and other things mentioned:
- 1989 (Taylor's Version) (album)
- The Good Witch Deluxe by Maisie Peters (album)
- Positive Spin by Gretta Ray (album)
- Genevieve Novak (listen to our interview here)
- The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
- Basil the Great Mouse Detective (film)
- Danielle Binks (listen to our interview)
- Labyrinth (film)
- Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (production)
You can find ways to contact Alice on her website.
Millie Mak the Maker is available now, as are all Alice's other books.
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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.