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JOHN MARSDEN
born 27th September, 1950


john marsden John Marsden's love of both reading and writing developed at an early age. The third child in a family of four, he grew up in country Victorian and when he was six years old moved with his family to Devonport, Tasmania. Here, with the help of a friend in Grade 4 at Devonport Primary School, he produced a class newspaper and began writing stories.

John's first taste of city life came when he was ten and his family moved to Sydney. "I went to a very strict all boys school [King's School, Parramatta] for seven years, before starting university," he says, "but, restless and dissatisfied, I soon give that up." A variety of unfulfilling jobs followed as he tried to determine his future direction.

Completing a teaching course, John Marsden began his 13-year classroom career in 1978. In his first year on the job he taught Physical Education, Remedial Reading and an English class of recalcitrant Year 10s, who proceeded to put him through a gruelling survival course in classroom management. "Luckily," John says, "I loved it!"

His impact as a teacher was apparent to students, peers and superiors. By 1982 he was Head of English at prestigious Geelong Grammar School, and subsequently Head of English at their famous Timbertop campus.

John's first novel So Much To Tell You, written during a three-week school vacation, was published during 1987. "Writing has been in my blood since grade four,' he says, "so I was delighted at the response when the book was finally published."

It became one of Australia's most successful books, selling over half a million copies, winning awards in Australia and America, and was translated into twelve languages - an outstanding debut performance.

In 1990, after a further six books, John found he could no longer juggle both teaching and writing, and he reluctantly retired from the classroom to become a full time writer.

The first book in his now famous 'Tomorrow' series, Tomorrow, When the War Began, was published in 1992 and the final title, The Other Side of Dawn, was released in 1999.

As well as eighteen novels, John Marsden has written six other books including Everything I Know About Writing. "This is the book I wish someone had written for me when I was learning my trade," he said.

It is almost impossible to take the teacher out of this successful writer - he now runs writing workshops on his property in the Macedon Ranges, north-west of Melbourne, as well as continuing with his own writing.

© BARRY JOHN WATTS 2004

 
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