Bich Minh Nguyen
Author of Pioneer Girl, Stealing Buddha's Dinner and Short Girls
About Bich Minh Nguyen
Bich Minh Nguyen (pronounced “Bic Min Ngwin”), who goes by Beth, was a baby when her family fled Vietnam on April 29, 1975. They eventually settled in Michigan, where Nguyen grew up. These experiences formed the basis of her memoir, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, which received the PEN/Jerard Award and was named a best book of the year by The Chicago Tribune.
Nguyen has appeared on programs such as PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss the prevalent themes in her book—the refugee experience, immigration, food, and family—and how they relate to so many other areas of life. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner has also been selected for numerous all-college and all-community reads.
Her first novel, Short Girls, was published by Penguin in 2010; it received an American Book Award and was named a Library Journal best book. Nguyen’s most recent book is the novel Pioneer Girl, published by Viking in 2014, about a Vietnamese-American family with mysterious ties to the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder family. Nguyen’s work has also appeared in the New York Times, Literary Hub, and The Paris Review.
Bich Minh Nguyen has also coedited three anthologies: 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years (Penguin Academic), Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye (Longman), and The Contemporary American Short Story (Longman). She has taught creative writing at various conferences, including Aspen Summer Words, Key West Literary Seminars, Port Townsend Writers Conference, VONA/Voices, and Kundiman, and is a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
Vietnamese American Experience
Asian American Literature
Childhood and Adolescence
Praise for Bich Minh Nguyen
Praise for Pioneer Girl
I love how the Little House legend takes a wild detour into contemporary life in Pioneer Girl. Bich Minh Nguyen’s wonderfully imagined literary history gets to the truth about mothers, daughters, frontiers, and the meaning of home. I couldn’t put this down!— Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life
A powerful and wholly original American saga.— San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
Her typical and not-so-typical childhood experiences give her story a universal flavor.— USA Today
A charming memoir . . . Her prose is engaging, precise, compact.— The New York Times Book Review
Books by Bich Minh Nguyen
Media About Bich Minh Nguyen
- 212 572-2013
- Bich Minh Nguyen travels from Madison, WI
“Elegant, sharp-eyed, and very funny, Pioneer Girl is ultimately about how one finds kinship—familial, cultural, literary—that transcends the usual lexicon about identity and belonging. Navigating Vietnamese ‘immigrant guilt’ and a stalled academic career, Lee Lien finds escape in trying to solve a literary mystery which leads her deep into her own heart and history. A wonderful read!” – Cristina García, author of King of Cuba and Dreaming in Cuban