Melina Marchetta

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Melina Marchetta
Born (1965-03-25) 25 March 1965 (age 57)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenreYoung adult fiction
Notable works
Notable awardsCBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers

Carmelina Marchetta (born 25 March 1965) is an Australian writer and teacher. Marchetta is best known as the author of teen novels, Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road. She has twice been awarded the CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers, in 1993 and 2004. For Jellicoe Road she won the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association, recognizing the year's best book for young adults.[1]

Education and early work[edit]

Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney on 25 March 1965. She is of Italian descent, a middle child with two sisters. Marchetta attended high school at Rosebank College in the Sydney suburb of Five Dock.[2] She left school at age fifteen as she was not confident in her academic ability. She enrolled in a business school which helped her gain employment with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and later at a travel agency. This gave her confidence to return to study and gain a teaching degree from the Australian Catholic University. She then got a job teaching at St Mary's Cathedral College, Sydney in the heart of the Sydney CBD until 2006. She now writes full-time.

Breakthrough: Looking for Alibrandi[edit]

Her first novel, Looking for Alibrandi was released in 1992 with a first print-run sellout within two months of its release. Published in 14 countries, including 11 translated editions, Looking for Alibrandi swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction in 1993 including the CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers.[3] Dubbed "the most stolen library book",[citation needed] the novel has sold more than half a million copies worldwide and was followed by her film adaptation of the same title released in 1999, Looking for Alibrandi.

Worldwide recognition: 2003–present[edit]

While writing the AFI award-winning screenplay Marchetta taught English, Italian and History full-time for ten years at a city high school for boys. During that time she released her second novel, Saving Francesca in 2003, followed by On the Jellicoe Road in 2006. Both novels have been published in more than 6 countries, with Saving Francesca translated into 4 languages. In its U.S. edition, Jellicoe Road won the 2009 Printz Award for "literary excellence in young adult literature".[1]

Marchetta's fourth novel, the fantasy epic Finnikin of the Rock, was released by Penguin Australia in October 2008. It has since won the 2008 Aurealis Award for best young-adult novel and the 2009 ABIA (Australian Booksellers Industry Awards) Book of the Year for Older Children, and was recently shortlisted for the 2009 CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers. In the USA Finnikin has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist and the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

Marchetta has also written short stories including Twelve Minutes, part of the Books Alive anthology "10 Short Stories You Must Read This Year", along with reviews and opinion pieces for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the Australian Literary Review. She has been a writer-in-residence around the country, as far north as Thursday Island and as far south as Hobart.

Her fifth novel, The Piper's Son was released in Australia in 2010 and is an accompanying novel to Saving Francesca, but through the perspective of another character in the book.

She is currently[when?] working on getting the Jellicoe Road movie script into production, while also working on writing the script for Saving Francesca. She has told fans that she is working on another book, [4] which came out in 2016 titled Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil. Melina then went on to collaborate with Kathryn Barker on a book When Rosie Met Jim/ Shoeboxes: Volume 22. In 2019, she released The Place on Dalhousie.

Personal life[edit]

Marchetta lives in Sydney. Marchetta makes visits to schools to talk about her books. She also attends interviews, book signings, book club meetings at libraries and bookshops and gives talks to students about her novels. Marchetta has a blog on which she announces book updates, interviews and thoughts and anything in relation to writing and her novels.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]


Marchetta wrote the screenplay for the film Looking for Alibrandi (1999), a film starring Pia Miranda, Greta Scacchi and Anthony La Paglia. The film was a box office success, winning five awards including an AFI award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay, as well as the NSW Premier's Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.[14]

In 2016, Marchetta announced on her blog she had completed the screenplay for a film adaptation of On the Jellicoe Road.[15] In December 2019 Werner Film Productions, ZDF Enterprises and Wild Sheep Content announced an 8-part TV series. Marchetta will write the pilot with writers Samantha Strauss, Sarah Walker and Angela Betzien also attached.[16]

Selected works[edit]

Saving Francesca[edit]

  • Saving Francesca (2003)[17]
  • The Piper's Son (March 2010)[19]
  • The Place on Dalhousie (2019)[17]

The Lumatere Chronicles[edit]

What Zola Did[edit]

  • What Zola Did on Monday (2020)[20]
  • What Zola Did on Tuesday (2020)[20]
  • What Zola Did on Wednesday (2020)[20]
  • What Zola Did on Thursday (2021)[20]
  • What Zola Did on Friday (2021)[20]
  • What Zola Did on Saturday (2021)[20]
  • What Zola Did on Sunday (2021)[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Michael L. Printz Winners and Honor Books". YALSA. American Library Association. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Melina Marchetta". Melina Marchetta. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Brief Biographies: Famous Authors". Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Film Critics Circle of Australia website". 15 September 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  7. ^ BILBY Awards Previous winners
  8. ^ "2007 ABIA Shortlists" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  9. ^ "QUEENSLAND PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARDS SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED – The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory". Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  10. ^ "2011 NSW Premier's Literary Awards – Shortlist" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  11. ^ Arts, Department of Communications and the (23 April 2019). "The piper's son". Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  12. ^ "NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2021 winners announced". Books+Publishing. 27 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "'Eight jobs at once and no sick days': $60,000 prizes a welcome relief for young writer". 26 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Puffin at Penguin Books Australia – Author Details". Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  15. ^ Marchetta, Melina (4 January 2016). "A whole lot of misc to start 2016". Melina Marchetta (blog). Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  16. ^ Groves, Don (2 December 2019). "Joanna Werner finds international partners for 'On the Jellicoe Road'". IF Magazine. The Intermedia Group. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h "Books of Melina Marchetta". Penguin Books Australia. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  18. ^ "The Gorgon in the Gully: Pocket Money Puffins". Penguin Books Australia. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  19. ^ Official website
  20. ^ a b c d e f g "What Zola Did". Penguin Books Australia. Retrieved 15 November 2021.

External links[edit]