Jessica Hagedorn is a performance artist, poet, novelist and playwright, born and raised in the Philippines. Her novels include Dogeaters (Penguin 1990) which was nominated for a National Book Award and The Gangster of Love (Penguin 1996); a short story collection, Danger and Beauty (City Lights 2002).
Jessica Hagedorn is the author of "Toxicology", "Dream Jungle", "The Gangster Of Love", and "Dogeaters", which won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. She is also the author of "Danger and Beauty", a collection of poetry and prose, and the editor of "Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction". Her plays include "Most Wanted", the Heaven Trilogy, and the stage adaptation of "Dogeaters". Hagedorn recently edited "Manila Noir", a crime fiction anthology, for Akashic's acclaimed Noir series. She directs the creative writing master's program at LIU Brooklyn. For more information, visit www.jessicahagedorn.net.
Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents. While her beautiful mother worried that Loung was a troublemaker—that she stomped around like a thirsty cow—her beloved father knew Loung was a clever girl.
When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung’s family fled their home and moved from village to village to hide their identity, their education, their former life of privilege. Eventually, the family dispersed in order to survive. Loung trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, while other siblings were sent to labor camps. As the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia, destroying the Khmer Rouge, Loung and her surviving siblings were slowly reunited.
Bolstered by the shocking bravery of one brother, the courage and sacrifices of the rest of her family—and sustained by her sister’s gentle kindness amid brutality—Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life. Harrowing yet hopeful, insightful and compelling, this story is truly unforgettable.