Andrew X. Pham biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Andrew X. Pham.

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Andrew X. Pham
Photo: Srisuda Wansawat

Andrew X. Pham

Andrew X. Pham: last name is pronounced 'fam'

Andrew X. Pham Biography

About The Author
Andrew X Pham (pronounced fam) was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1967. His father, Thong Van Pham, worked for the US during the Vietnam War and was imprisoned in a reeducation camp after the war by the Communists. The family arrived in California in 1977 as 'boat people'. 

As a child, Andrew thought he would become a painter but eventually followed his father (a software engineer) into the same field, graduating from UCLA with a degree in aerospace engineering in 1990.  After briefly working as an aircraft engineer, he realized he was unfit for cubicle work so quit his job to pursue an M.B.A. and an M.S. in Engineering.  Eventually, he abandoned his studies, and, saddled with debts, tried his hand at writing for a living - working as a technical writer and editor and as a restaurant critic for a local newspaper (which he notes was a wonderful job for a starving artist!)

During this time he also bicycled through all the western United States, part of Japan and finally, most of Vietnam. The latter journey he recorded in Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, which won the 1999 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize.

Pham's other honors include the Whiting Writer Award, QPB Nonfiction Prize, Quality Paperback Book Prize, Guardian Shortlist Finalist, New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes & Noble Discovery Book, a Border's Original Voices Selection and the Oregon Literature Prize.  In 2009 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 2009 Fellowship for nonfiction.

Speaking of his life to date on his website, Pham writes:

"It has been a long arduous road, filled with dark abysses, marvelous heights, gut-rotting doubts, exquisite joys, heartbreaks, memorable feasts, and long stretches of hunger. The view ahead seems to promise more of the same. But I have enjoyed the journey immensely. There is some truth in the old proverb: The rewarding path is never easy, the easy path never rewarding.

Along the way, I've held a dozen different jobs and lived in eight cities scattered across four states. I have been traveling and living abroad since 2002. In a way, I have become a painter of sort. Medium: words on paper. Subject: life as I see it."

Link to Andrew's website

This biography was last updated on 07/03/2009.

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Books by this Author

Books by Andrew X. Pham at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

The Eaves of Heaven
The Eaves of Heaven

by Andrew X. Pham

A son’s searing memoir of his Vietnamese father’s experiences over the course of three wars.
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Andrew X. Pham but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Tom Bissell

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    Tom Bissell is the author of Chasing the Sea, God Lives in St. Petersburg, The Father of All Things and Why Video Games Matter. A recipient of the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Bay de Noc Community College ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Eaves of Heaven

    Try:
    The Father of All Things
    by Tom Bissell

  • Wenguang Huang

    Wenguang Huang

    Wenguang Huang is a writer, journalist, and translator whose articles and translations have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Asia, Chicago Tribune, The Paris Review, Asia Literary Review, and The Christian Science Monitor.... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Eaves of Heaven

    Try:
    The Little Red Guard
    by Wenguang Huang

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