Today I’m talking to an Australian author who left school at 15, worked in a bank, went back to school then taught English at high school. Now she’s been published in 18 countries in 17 different languages. Her first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, not only won awards as a novel; she adapted it as a screenplay which also won awards. Since then, she’s written across genres, continuing to win awards. Melina Marchetta!
This interview is in MP3 (podcast) format at the bottom of the page.
Some of the questions Melina Marchetta answered
These questions are in the order I wrote them; they’re not necessarily in the same order in the interview. The conversation was also organic so I occasionally responded to Melina by asking unplanned questions.
You’ve had a long and windy path to get to this point in your career; what has led you to this point?
Who has encouraged you along the way?
What authors and novels have influenced your work?
You published Looking for Alibrandi in 1992 – what motivated you to write this cross-cultural exploration?
Looking for Alibrandi won awards – what affect did this have on you?
When books are adapted into movies, it’s very unusual for the author to have much if any say in the screen production and yet you wrote the script for Looking for Alibrandi.
There was a long break between Looking for Alibrandi and your next published work.
You wrote a few novels before turning to fantasy: why did you change genres?
Finnikin of the Rock focuses on refugees who are not unlike Australia’s boat people: how conscious is this social comment?
Froi of the Exiles has a range of themes focusing on parenting and sexuality including sex-based roles, rape, victimisation and ‘whoring’ as well as delving into a different refugee situation.
I haven’t managed to read Quintana of Charyn yet; what themes do you include novel?
Living in exile or as a refugee is an ongoing theme in your work; what drives you to include this in your work?
Do you have a message for Australia about treatment of refugees?
Did you enjoy Big Sky in 2012? Do you have any interesting anecdotes?
What projects do you have under development?
How is the movie of On Jellico Road coming along?
What does the future hold?
I reviewed the Lumatere Chronicles here.