Melina Marchetta’s writing career took off in 1992 when she published her first novel, Looking for Alibrandi. She later turned the story into a film script. The movie Looking for Alibrandi screened in theatres around Australia and the world from 2000.
Melina has a Bachelor of Education degree from the Australian Catholic University. She managed to combine writing with teaching English and History in secondary school for ten years up to 2006, when she committed to writing full-time and took a pause from her teaching career. During that period, she released two novels, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road.
Her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock, was published in 2008. The Piper’s Son (a companion novel to Saving Francesca) was released in 2010. She has written a children’s book, The Gorgon in the Gully, as part of the Puffin Pocket Money series.
Her novels have been published in 17 languages in at least 18 countries. Much of her work clearly draws from real life, including her adolescent experiences and observations of students. Melina lives in Sydney where she writes full time.
NOVELS AND FILM SCRIPT
The Place on Dalhousie, Viking Books, Penguin Australia
The Gorgon in the Gully, Puffin Books, Penguin
The Piper’s Son, Viking Books, Penguin (published in the US by Candlewick)
Finnikin of the Rock, Viking Books, Penguin (published in the US by Candlewick)
On the Jellicoe Road, Viking Books, Penguin (published in the US as Jellicoe Road by Harper Collins)
Saving Francesca, Viking Books, Penguin (published in the US by Knopf, Random House)
Looking For Alibrandi film script produced by Robyn Kershaw directed Kate Woods
Looking For Alibrandi, Penguin Books (published in the US by Knopf, Random House)
LITERARY AWARDS AND SHORTLISTS
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, shortlisted for Sisters in Crime Davitt Award
The Piper’s Son, shortlisted for Queensland Premier’s Award
Jellicoe Road (US), Winner of the US Printz Award
Finnikin of the Rock, Winner of the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Book of the Year
Finnikin of the Rock, Winner of the Aurealis Fantasy Award
Finnikin of the Rock, Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award
Finnikin of the Rock, Shortlisted for the Western Australia Premier’s Book Awards
On the Jellicoe Road, shortlisted for Queensland Premier’s Award
On the Jellicoe Road, shortlisted for Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Book of the Year
Saving Francesca, Winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award
Looking for Alibrandi, Winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award
Looking for Alibrandi, Shortlisted for New South Wales (NSW) Premier’s Literary Awards
Looking for Alibrandi
2000 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2000 Inside Film (IF) Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2000 New South Wales (NSW) Premier’s Award for Best Screenplay
2000 Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Melina Marchetta is an Australian author, best known for her young adult novels. Born on 25 March 1965 in Sydney, Australia, she grew up in a family of Italian immigrants. Her love for storytelling began at a young age and was influenced by her father’s tales of his own childhood in Italy.
Melina’s first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, was published in 1992 and became a best-seller in Australia. The book was later adapted into a film and received critical acclaim. She went on to write several other successful novels, including Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road, both of which were also best-sellers.
In addition to her writing, Melina is a teacher and has worked in education for many years. She has been recognised for her contributions to literature and has received several awards, including the New South Wales (NSW) Premier’s Literary Award and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.
Melina continues to live in Sydney, Australia and is known for her vivid storytelling and heartfelt portrayals of complex relationships.
Why Melina Wrote Looking for Alibrandi
Melina Marchetta wrote Looking for Alibrandi drawing from her personal experiences as a second-generation Italian-Australian. The story mirrors her own journey of navigating through two distinct cultures, making the narrative deeply personal and authentic. She deftly weaves a tale around the protagonist, Josephine Alibrandi, who grapples with similar cultural tensions and the universal challenges of adolescence.
Marchetta also utilised the novel to explore the often unspoken trials and tribulations of teenage life. She boldly touched upon sensitive themes, including identity crises, relationships, and mental health. This added a layer of depth to the narrative, offering reassurance to countless teenagers that their experiences and concerns were shared.
Looking for Alibrandi was more than just a narrative for Marchetta; it marked her passionate entry into the literary world. Written over nine years during a writer’s workshop, it was the fruit of her dedication and love for writing. The critical and commercial success of the book reinforced her writing prowess and set the stage for her successful career as an esteemed author.