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Nicole Mones

29th annual Key West Literary Seminar

—The Hungry Muse: An Exploration of Food in Literature—

January 6 - 16, 2011

Nicole Mones was born in 1952 and started a textile trading business in China in 1977, which she went on to run for 18 years. She is the author of three novels that draw from her experiences in the country: A Cup of Light,Lost in Translation, and her most recent work, The Last Chinese Chef.

Mones’s debut novel Lost in Translation (no connection with the film of the same name) was named a New York Times Notable Book, and won the Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Association Book Award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the year’s best work of fiction by any American woman. The Last Chinese Chef was excerpted by Gourmet magazine, one of the rare times fiction has ever been published in a national food magazine. It was the only American finalist for the 2008 Kiriyama Prize for Fiction, and won a World Gourmand Award as the year’s best U.S.-published Chinese cookbook, despite the fact that it is a novel with no recipes.

For 10 years, Mones wrote about Chinese food for Gourmet, covering the food scenes in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Yunnan Province, Yangshuo, and the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. Her nonfiction has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington PostThe New York Times Magazine, Italy’s L’Uomo Vogue, and Brazil’s O Estado de Sao Paulo.

She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Online Resources:

Nicole Mones’s website
Interview w/ Mones in CA Literary Review
“Double Happiness”: Mones on Chinese food in America

Selected Bibliography:

The Last Chinese Chef (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2007)

A Cup of Light (Delta 2003)

Lost in Translation (Delta 1999)

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