Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bich Ming Nguyen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1974 in Saigon, Viet Nam

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Illinois Connection

Nguyen lives in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband Porter Shreve, also a novelist.

Biographical and Professional Information


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir
ISBN: 0670038326

Viking Adult. 2007

A vivid, funny, and viscerally powerful memoir about childhood, assimilation, food, and growing up in the 1980s

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bich Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity. In the pre-PC era Midwest, where the devoutly Christian blond-haired, blue-eyed Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme, Nguyen’s barely conscious desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic seeming than her Buddhist grandmother’s traditional specialties—spring rolls, delicate pancakes stuffed with meats, fried shrimp cakes—the campy, preservative-filled “delicacies” of mainstream America capture her imagination. And in this remarkable book, the glossy branded allure of such American foods as Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House cookies become an ingenious metaphor for her struggle to fit in, to become a “real” American.

Beginning with Nguyen’s family’s harrowing migration from Saigon in 1975, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner is nostalgic and candid, deeply satisfying and minutely observed, and stands as a unique vision of the immigrant experience and a lyrical ode to how identity is often shaped by the things we long for.

Short Girls: A Novel
ISBN: 0670020818

Viking Adult. 2009

Two estranged Vietnamese sisters, each wrestling with their own lives, careers, and romances, are reunited at their father's American citizenship party, and forge a new relationship in this novel from the PEN/Jerard Fund Award-winning author. 30,000 first printing.


Awards

-- Stealing Buddah's Dinner won a PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center and was named a Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2007, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book, an Asian American Literature Award finalist, and a BookSense pick.