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Kirsty Murray

Kirsty Murray has written eleven novels for children and young adults - most recently The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie and The Year It All Ended - plus many short stories, articles, and several non-fiction books. Her novels have won numerous awards, including an Aurealis award and the NSW Premier's History Award. Kirsty has been a writer- in-residence at two Indian universities and a participant in the Bookwallah Roving Writers Festival, presenting at literary events across India. www.kirstymurray.com

Kirsty loves history, especially stories from history about Australian children and their incredible adventures. She loves to write the kinds of books about Australia that she never found when she was growing up.

What inspired you to become a writer?
‘The world is full of inspiration. My father was a natural storyteller and my mother was a passionate reader but from an early age I was a persistent eavesdropper. I loved listening to all types of stories in the school yard, on the street, and out in the world.’

What was your first job?
‘When I was still in high school I worked weekends and Thursday nights in a tiny bookshop in Toronto, Canada. It was run by a German bookseller called Manfred Meurer and he was the best employer I¹ve ever had. We used to sit behind the counter together reading, talking about books, and eating Swiss cheese on Kaiser rolls from the German deli next door. The shop was called ‘The Book Barrel’ and stocked a fabulous eclectic mix of books. I didn’t earn much because even though he paid me half in cash and half in books, I could never resist blowing all my wages on lovely, glossy hard-cover books.’

When you're not writing, what do you do?
'There's always a passing parade of teenagers and young adults in our house. Luckily, I really enjoy catering for big crowds because I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and catching up on gossip. We're all addicted to books, music, and film so the conversations are great. I'm also a member of two book clubs. Everything to do with books and stories fascinates me.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
‘The best thing about being a writer is you are your own boss. It's great being able to decide what idea or story you're going to work on next. But being your own boss is also one of the worst things about writing. If nothing gets done then there's no one else to blame!’

Where do you do your writing?
‘We have a workshop in the back corner of our garden with big, long windows and a little
verandah. I work next to the window that looks out at the plum tree. In the morning, it's full of sunshine which always puts me in a good mood for the working day.’

What inspires you?
‘Kids are amazing. The more I write about children in history and young people today, the
more convinced I become that they make the best heroes in any story. I really like their energy and their attitudes. Children's authors often get asked when they're going to write a book for adults, as if only adults and their experiences are important. But frankly, compared to kids and teenagers, middle-aged people are pretty boring. I also love listening to the stories that old people tell. If you listen closely, you'll find many of their best stories are about their own childhood. I think they've figured out where the really good stories come from.’


 

Books by this Author

Zarconi's Magic Flying Fish

Zarconi's Magic Flying Fish

Published: March 2006

An exciting story of discovery, change and identity, with all the drama of life under the big top.

Tough Stuff

Tough Stuff

Published: June 1999

A collection of true stories about kids and courage. Some of them are extraordinary kids - high-born or super-intelligent or super-talented - and some are ordinary kids who do extraordinary things like saving a life or leading a crusade.

Market Blues

Market Blues

Published: February 2001

A timeslip adventure novel about a boy who goes busking at the market and finds himself transported back to a century ago.

Walking Home with Marie-Claire

Walking Home with Marie-Claire

Published: October 2002

A story about the friendship between 12 year old Pauline ('PJ'), and a daring, unpredictable new girl, Marie-Claire, whose instinct for adventure leads them both into trouble

Bridie's Fire

Bridie's Fire

Published: November 2003

Bridie's Fire is the tale of a fiery Irish girl who leaves Ireland to find a home for herself in goldrush Australia.

Becoming Billy Dare

Becoming Billy Dare

Published: December 2004

Becoming Billy Dare follows the life of a feisty Irish boy who runs away to Australia and finds his vocation as an actor in the colourful theatres of Melbourne, around the time of Federation.

A Prayer for Blue Delaney

A Prayer for Blue Delaney

Published: September 2005

A Prayer for Blue Delaney follows the outback adventures of orphaned Colm, who runs away from the cruelties of Bindoon Boys' Home and goes in search of a family of his own. Set in the 1950s.

The Secret Life of Maeve Lee Kwong

The Secret Life of Maeve Lee Kwong

Published: September 2006

Where do you turn when your family is tragically torn apart, your close friends fall away, and your long-lost father is out of reach? Where do you fit when you're part Irish, part Chinese, part Australian? A warm-hearted story about teenage life in Australia now.

Vulture's Gate

Vulture's Gate

Published: August 2009

It is 40 years into the future and the world is in turmoil. A plague has destroyed humans' ability to conceive females, or so Callum thinks until he meets Bo. A page-turning adventure unfolds as the pair rely on each other to survive a dangerous journey to a safe haven in the city of Vulture's Gate.

India Dark

India Dark

Published: August 2010

A strong and vivid novel based on the fascinating true story of a group of young Australian performers - children aged from seven to seventeen - who toured Asia and India early in the twentieth century before mounting a strike against their manager and precipitating a sensational court case.

Howard Florey Miracle Maker

Howard Florey Miracle Maker

Published: October 1998

Now in paperback, Howard Florey Miracle Maker is a biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Australian scientist who developed penicillin and so saved the lives of millions.

Howard Florey Miracle Maker

Howard Florey Miracle Maker

Published: February 2000

Now in paperback, Howard Florey Miracle Maker is a biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Australian scientist who developed penicillin and so saved the lives of millions.

Man-Eaters and Blood-Suckers

Man-Eaters and Blood-Suckers

Published: April 1998

Man-eaters and Blood-suckers is full of gripping anecdotes about close encounters between people and beasts that sometimes treat humans as prey - wolves, bears, tigers, sharks, crocodiles, dogs, rats, snakes, vampire bats, leeches and tapeworms. There's a chapter on cannibalism too.

Zarconi's Magic Flying Fish

Zarconi's Magic Flying Fish

Published: November 1999

An exciting novel for readers 9-12 years, set in an Australian travelling circus.

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie

Published: August 2013

A gripping time-slip adventure set in a hidden valley. 11-year-old Lucy travels across the river of time to fight fires, battle floodwaters and discover the meaning of true friendship. 'Enchanting, exciting, and shimmering with magic, this is a gorgeous adventure from a master story-teller. I wanted to follow Lucy right through the wall.' - Kate Constable

The Year It All Ended

The Year It All Ended

Published: September 2014

From one of our most gifted storytellers, a novel about the impact of war on those left behind, set in Australia and Europe in 1918-19.

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