Biography of Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is an Australian writer and teacher who was born in Sydney, Australia on March 25, 1965. A celebrated writer in Australia and abroad, Marchetta is known for her teen novels, but also writes adult crime and young adult fantasy books. She attended high school at Rosebank College in the Sydney suburbs, but dropped out at age 15 because she wasn’t confident in her academic abilities. After leaving high school she enrolled in a business school and got a job with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a travel agency.

Her success in business school and at work gave Marchetta the confidence she needed to continue studying. She earned her Bachelor of Education degree from the Australian Catholic University, and subsequently began teaching at St. Mary’s Cathedral College. Located in the heart of central Sydney, Marchetta taught writing, English, and history at the school for 10 years. During this time she published Looking for Alibrandi in 1992, Saving Francesca in 2003, and On the Jellicoe Road in 2006, all to critical acclaim. Following the release of On the Jellicoe Road, she took a break from teaching to focus on her writing career.

Of Italian descent, Marchetta draws on real life and her own personal experiences when crafting her novels. This is evident in novels like Looking for Alibrandi, which focus on the experiences of an adolescent Italian-Australian girl who struggles to find herself while juggling her family, friends, and school. Marchetta also wrote the screenplay for the film version of Looking for Alibrandi, which premiered in 1999. She is currently working on the screenplays for Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road. Her most recent work is The Place on Dalhousie, and her novels have been published in 17 languages in at least 18 countries.

Marchetta has received a bevy of awards and accolades for her writing, including the Children’s Book of the Year Award, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, the Aurealis Award, and the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

Study Guides on Works by Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi was written in 1992 by Melina Marchetta, and was published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. It was Marchetta’s first book, and its first print sold out within two months of its release. The novel won the Children's Book...