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Markus Zusak was born in Sydney, to a German mother and Austrian father, both of whom emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s.
Zusak was educated at Engadine High School, where he writing fiction at high school when he was sixteen years of age and finished his first manuscript when he was eighteen. He then studied English and history at the University of New South Wales, from which he holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education, and has worked sporadically as an English teacher, including a stint at Engadine High School.
Zusak's parents grew up in Europe during World War II and their stories of that time inform Zusak's work, most obviously The Book Thief. Like the character of Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak's father was a house painter and at an early age Zusak wanted to be a house painter as well.
The Book Thief was a staggering success: it has been translated into over thirty languages, as well as published in multiple English-language territories, and many of the translated versions went on to re-release the work in a film-tie-in edition. It was adapted into a play in 2012 by Heidi Stillman, for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Then in 2013, it was adapted as a film by Michael Petroni: the film was nominated for Oscar, BAFTA, and AACTA Awards.
Zusak delayed publishing another novel after The Book Thief, although Bridge of Clay was originally scheduled for publication in 2011 and was still much anticipated as of 2017. It was announced for an October 2018 release in March 2018. In 2011, he did release a collection of his earlier works in a single volume, including The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and When Dogs Cry.
Zusak's earlier novels, Fighting Ruben Wolfe,When Dogs Cry, and The Messenger have attracted multiple awards and shortlistings, including the CBCA honour list and the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature (NSW premier's Awards). The Book Thief won multiple international awards, including the Boeke Prize and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (for the German translation), and was an honour book for the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.
'An unforgettable and sweeping family saga from Markus Zusak, the storyteller who gave us the extraordinary bestseller The Book Thief.
'Bridge of Clay is about a boy who is caught in the current - of destroying everything he has, to become all he needs to be. He's a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for memory and tragedy. He builds a bridge to save his family, but also to save himself. It's an attempt to transcend humanness, to make a single, glorious moment:
'It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word - Kommunist - and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.'
yThe MessengerSydney City:Pan,2002Z9850742002single work novel young adult Meet Ed Kennedy - cab-driving prodigy, pathetic card player and useless at sex. He lives in a suburban shack, shares coffee with his dog, the Doorman, and is in nervous-love with Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence - until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. - back cover