I was born in Chicago, but grew up in Hong Kong. From a young age I heard stories about Australia from my mother and grandmother, who have roots in far North Queensland dating back to the gold rush. When I came to Australia at the age of seven and a half, I spoke only Chinese. When I learnt to read in English I felt reborn. It was then I decided I wanted to be a writer.
The books at my Melbourne primary school were wonderful. I read all the abridged classics including Great Expectations, Jane Eyre and Little Women. Modern works such as Little House in the Big Woods and The Diary of Anne Frank were a revelation. It’s no wonder I have loved classic storytelling ever since.
My first two unpublished manuscripts were semi-autobiographical novels. The Early Life of a Chinese Girl who Goes to Australia and The Making of Ruby Lee were based on memories of my early childhood in Hong Kong and my experiences in Australia as a migrant from the mid-1970s to 1990. The manuscripts were well received by major Australian publishers and named in the Australia Council Emerging Artists Mentorship and the HarperCollins/Varuna awards.
Over the years, I have written memoir, travel articles and short stories of diverse genres ranging from fairy tale to crime and ghost story to domestic drama/comedy. “The Girl with the Golden Hair” was shortlisted by Southerly for their Australian Dreams issues (2014-2015). “Madame Leung-Kett” was awarded Honorable Mention in the Family Matters contest for Glimmer Train magazine (February 2019). The ghost story, “Being Sylvia” was published in the 80th Anniversary edition of Southerly (December 2019). “Dying for Yum Cha” was awarded Honorable Mention in the Mainstream/Literary Short Story category of the 89th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition (August 2020).
My stories remind us that despite appearances, we are guided by unseen forces to question our assumptions. Nothing is fixed. Things can change in an instant. Miracles occur. Every moment is a potential for surprise.
I am a recipient of an Australian Society of Authors’ 2020 Award Mentorship for Adult Fiction. I have a BA (Hons), First Class Honours and MA from the University of Melbourne. My work has been published in Meanjin, Southerly, The Age, Australian Short Stories and anthologised in Growing up Asian in Australia, among others.
I live in Melbourne, and am a keen piano player and photographer.