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Bich Minh Nguyen

Bich Minh Nguyen was born in 1974 in Saigon, which her family fled by ship the following year. After staying in refugee camps in Guam and at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, they settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Nguyen grew up.

Nguyen earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She is the author of a memoir-in-essays entitled Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, which received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center and was named a Best Book of 2007 by the Chicago Tribune, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book, an Asian American Literature Award finalist, and a BookSense pick; it is also the Great Michigan Read selection for 2009-2010. Her first novel, Short Girls, was published in 2009.

Together with her husband Porter Shreve, Nguyen has coedited three anthologies: 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years;Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye; and The Contemporary American Short Story. Nguyen’s work has also appeared in magazines including Gourmet and Jane, and in anthologies including Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing up in America; and Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose.

Nguyen lives in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, and teaches creative nonfiction, fiction, and Asian American literature at Purdue University. Her first name, Bich, is pronounced “Bik.” Nguyen, “the Smith of Viet Nam,” is pronounced approximately like “Ngoo-ee-ehn” (said quickly, in one syllable).

Online Resources:

Bich Minh Nguyen’s website
Review of SHORT GIRLS in the LA Times
STEALING BUDDHA’S DINNER reviewed in the NYTimes

Selected Bibliography:

Short Girls (Viking 2009)

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner (Viking 2007)