Melina Marchetta was born in 1965 and grew up in Sydney with two sisters. She attended high school at Rosebank College, and worked in a bank and a travel agency before studying to be a secondary teacher. Melina's first novel Looking For Alibrandi was published in 1992 and was released as a film in 2000 which she also wrote. She taught secondary school English and History for ten years, during which time she continued to write and released another two novels, Saving Francesca followed by On the Jellicoe Road. In 2006 she left teaching to become a full time writer. In 2008, her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock was published, the beginning of the Lumatere Chronicles. Melina's novels have won numerous awards and been published in 17 languages. She lives in Sydney where she writes full time.
Author's Comment: Q. What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on your writing? Melina: I loved stories about feisty girls and no one was more passionate than Anne Shirley. My life changed from the moment Anne hit Gilbert Blythe over the head with a slate and I think I've been writing that scene metaphorically ever since (think Francesca Spinelli and Will Trombal's exchange about Trotsky/Tolstoy in Saving Francesca). In my early twenties I read Catch 22 and the sequencing of that very much inspired the first chapter of Jellicoe Road where Taylor makes mention of events that eventually the reader will hear about later in the story. That doesn't mean I think I'm as good as L M Montgomery or Joseph Heller, but other people's work certainly impact on my own writing.
Q. Why do you write for young people? Melina: I didn't set out to write for young people and I would like to think that I write about young people rather than for them. I don't allow an audience to dictate what I write because it would mean that I'd censor myself