Unpolished Gem

Author(s): Alice Pung

Biography & Memoir

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.


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


Shortlisted 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards, 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, 2007 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, 2007 Age Book of the Year Awards, 2006 Colin Roderick Award and the 2007 The Westfield/Waverley Library Award for Literature


'Unpolished Gem is a delightful read - a funny, touching debut from a writer we're sure to hear more from.' -ourier Mail


'Offer(s) a rare bicultural vantage point on Australian multiculturalism' -Sydney Morning Herald


'There's something striking on every page of Unpolished Gem.' -Helen Garner


'A memoir so vivid that images from it linger behind your eyelids.' -The Age


'Alice Pung is a gem. Her voice is the real thing.' -Amy Tan


'Unpolished Gem is virtuoso storytelling.' -The Australian


'Intelligent and touching' -Herald Sun


Alice Pung is an award-winning writer, editor, teacher and lawyer based in Melbourne. She is the bestselling author of Unpolished Gem and Her Father's Daughter and the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson. Her first novel, Laurinda, won the Ethel Turner Prize at the 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Product Information

Shortlisted for Victorian Premier's Literary Award 2007 and Victorian Premier's Literary Award - Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction 2007.

Alice Pung is a writer, editor, teacher and lawyer based in Melbourne. Born a month after her Chinese parents fled from Cambodia to Australia as asylum seekers from Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge Regime, Alice has used her shared family's experiences to write stories that captivate all readers. She has won numerous awards including the 2007 Newcomer of the Year Award in the Australia Book Industry Awards for her first book Unpolished Gem. Her next book Her Father's Daughter won the Western Australia Premier's Book Award for Non Fiction, and it was also shortlisted for the Premier's Literary Awards in Victoria and New South Wales, and nominated also in the Queensland Literary Awards. Laurinda, Alice's first novel, was published in 2014 and was one of Readings' Top 100 bestselling books for the year. She is writing four books around the character Marly for Penguin's Our Australian Girl series. Alice's writing has appeared in many notable publications including the Monthly, the Age, Meanjin, Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays. Alice edited Growing Up Asian in Australia, a collection of personal accounts, essays, short stories and poetry which is currently a set text for the VCE English context on Identity and Belonging. Alice lives with her husband at Janet Clarke Hall

General Fields

  • : 9781863951586
  • : Schwartz Publishing Pty, Limited
  • : Black Inc.
  • : 0.316
  • : July 2006
  • : 210mm X mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Alice Pung
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 305.8950945092
  • : 288
  • : Biography & autobiography: general; Social & cultural history