Markus Zusak

Australian writer
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Markus Zusak

Zusak in 2019
Born Markus Frank Zusak
(1975-06-23) 23 June 1975 (age 47)
Sydney, Australia
Occupation Writer
Education University of New South Wales with a Bachelors of Arts and a diploma of education
Alma mater University of New South Wales
Period 1999–2016
Notable awards Margaret A Edwards Award
Spouse Mika Zusak
Children 3 children

Markus Zusak (born 23 June 1975) is an Australian writer with Austrian and German roots He is best known for The Book Thief and The Messenger (US title: I Am the Messenger), two novels which became international bestsellers He won the Margaret A Edwards Award in 2014

Early life and career

Zusak was born in Sydney, Australia His mother Lisa is originally from Germany and his father Helmut is from Austria They emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s Markus is the youngest of four children and has two sisters and one brother He attended Engadine High School and briefly returned there to teach English while writing He studied English and history at the University of New South Wales, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education

Zusak is the author of six books His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and When Dogs Cry, released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally The Messenger, published in 2002, won the 2003 CBC Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize) in Australia and was a runner-up for the Printz Award in America

The Book Thief was published in 2005 and has since been translated into more than 40 languages The Book Thief was adapted as a film of the same name in 2013 In 2014, Zusak delivered a Ted Talk, called ‘The Failurist’ at the Sydney Opera House It focused on his drafting process and journey to success through writing The Book Thief

The Messenger (I Am the Messenger in the United States) was published in 2002 and was one of Zusak’s first novels This novel has won awards such as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards: Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature

In March 2016 Zusak talked about his then unfinished novel Bridge of Clay He stated that the book was 90% finished but that, ” I’m a completely different person than the person who wrote The Book Thief And this is also the scary thing—I’m a different person to the one who started Bridge of Clay eight, nine years ago I’ve got to get it done this year, or else I’ll probably finally have to set it aside”


  • The Underdog (1999)
  • Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2000), sequel to The Underdog
  • When Dogs Cry (2001), aka Getting the Girl; sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe
  • The Messenger (2002); US title: I Am the Messenger
  • The Book Thief (2005)
  • Bridge of Clay (2018), Pan Macmillan Australia


In 2014, Zusak won the Margaret A Edwards Award from the American Library Association (ALA), which annually recognises an author and “a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature”

In 2006, Zusak was also the recipient of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Australian Novelist of the Year Award

  • The Book Thief
    • 2006: Kathleen Mitchell Award 2006 (literature)
    • 2006: National Jewish Book Award (Children’s and Young Adult Literature)
    • 2007: Michael L Printz Award runner-up (Honor Book) from the US Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
    • 2008: Ena Noel Award – the IBBY Australia Ena Noël Encouragement Award for Children’s Literature
    • 2009: Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis
  • The Messenger (US title: I Am The Messenger)
    • 2003: New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature
    • 2003: Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award
    • 2005: Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year-Children
    • 2006: Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
    • 2006: Printz Award Honor Book
    • 2007: Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis
  • When Dogs Cry / Getting the Girl
    • 2002: Honour Book, CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Award: Older Readers
  • Fighting Ruben Wolfe
    • 2001: Honour Book, CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Award: Older Readers
    • shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature

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