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David Metzenthen (1958–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

australia victoria review books

Born 1958, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Politics: "Green." Religion: "Agnostic."

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Group/Pearson Australia 250 Camberwell Rd., Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia.

Career

Writer. Formerly worked in advertising; Radio 3DB, former copywriter. Once worked variously as a gardener and grave digger. Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge, ambassador, 2005.

Honors Awards

Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year for Younger Readers shortlist, and Multicultural Book of the Year Award shortlist, both 1995, both for Brocky's Bananagram; Ethel Turner Prize, New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, 1996, for Johnny Hart's Heroes, and 2004, for Tiff and the Trout; CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers Honor Book, 1997, for Johnny Hart's Heroes, 1998, for Gilbert's Ghost Train, and 2004, for Boys of Blood and Bone; Western Australia Young Readers Book Award for Older Reader, 1999, for Finn and the Big Guy; New South Wales Premier's Literary Award, and CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers shortlist, both 2000, both for Stony Heart Country; State of Victoria Prize for Young-Adult Fiction shortlist, 2003, for Wildlight.

Writings

Danger Wave, Scholastic (Gosford, New South Wales, Australia), 1990.

Lee Spain, Scholastic (Gosford, New South Wales, Australia), 1991.

Brocky's Bananagram, Scholastic (Gosford, New South Wales, Australia), 1994.

Roadie, Omnibus Books (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1995.

Johnny Hart's Heroes, Puffin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

Animal Instinct, Omnibus Books (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Gilbert's Ghost Train, Ashton Scholastic (Gosford, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

Cody and Zero, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

Lefty Lemon Kicks Goals, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

Finn and the Big Guy, Penguin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

The Diary of Fat Robby Pile, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

Rodney the Surfing Duck, illustrated by Steve Axelson, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1999.

Falling Forward, Omnibus Books (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1998.

Fort Island, illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe, Penguin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Mick the Mimic, illustrated by Matt Golding, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

The Red Hot Footy Fiasco, illustrated by Matt Golding, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Stony Heart Country, Penguin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

The Hand-Knitted Hero, illustrated by David Cox, Penguin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Adrian Goes out There, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Last Chance Hut, Addison Wesley Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

The Colour of Sunshine, Penguin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

The Red Boxing Gloves, Word Weavers Press (Bulimba, Queensland, Australia), 2002.

Wildlight: A Journey, Penguin (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

The Really Really High Diving Tower, Puffin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

Boys of Blood and Bones, Penguin (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

Spider!, illustrated by Peter Sheehan, Puffin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2004.

Tiff and the Trout, Puffin Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Anton Rocks On, Puffin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2004.

Time Turns on Spooky Hill, illustrated by Philip Webb, Word Weavers Press (Bulimba, Queensland, Australia), 2004.

Falling Forward, Penguin (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2005.

The Rollercoaster, illustrated by Peter Sheehan, Puffin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2005.

The Really Really Epic Mini-Bike Ride, Puffin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2006.

Adaptations

Wildlight was adapted as an audiobook read by Michael Veitch, Bolinda Audio, 2003.

Sidelights

David Metzenthen is an award-winning author of books for children of many ages that are set in his native Australia. Magpies contributor Anne Briggs commended the delightful language employed in Metzenthen's young-adult novel Falling Forward, which tells the poignant story of the relationship between two "damaged" young men. Briggs maintained that the novel "is studded with memorable scenes expressed with delicacy and tenderness." Describing the author's text in Johnny Hart's Heroes, where two drifters leave a sideshow to become drovers for a sheep farmer, critic Kerry Neary observed in the same publication that "Metzenthen uses a laconic prose … that mirrors the heat-burdened laziness of an outback summer" and "is sparked with an imagery that is sometimes breathtaking in its originality."

Another novel for young adults, Wildlight: A Journey is a high-action story that recounts the life and adventures of Dirk Wildlight, an orphaned young man who is determined to find a new life in Greater Australia during the 1840, a time when the country was largely uninhabited. Reviewing the audiobook version of the novel, Julie Scordato wrote in Kliatt that Metzenthen's story "is packed with action as Dirk moves from place to place in search of a better life" and "he learns about his past, about love and how he is the opposite in every way to what the people who 'adopted' him believed him to be."

Written for younger children, The Red Boxing Gloves relates the story of two young boys, Bicky and Miles, who decide to solve their differences, and some mutual aggressions, in an official boxing match at their local youth club. "This is a fast moving story, with more than a touch of humour," noted Claire Saxby in Aussie Reviews online, adding that the easy-reading novel, which alternates points of view between the two boys, "is sure to capture the target reader," particularly elementary-grade boys who are note keen on reading but who will be attracted by the boxing motif.

Metzenthen once told SATA: "I write to give to my reader what I feel to be the most important things that I know or think about. I am interested in what we all seek in life, how we pursue happiness and fulfillment. I am a realist Australian writer who believes that place and landscape influence character and, because I care deeply about my country, I spend a lot of my writing time trying to show the 'soul' of the land of this place. I try to write simply, but I also try to present complex issues that face us all as we go about our lives. I love words and the way that good prose can be almost magical in its ability to convey deeply felt and complex meaning.

"I also believe I owe my readers the best, most entertaining work I can possible create."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Australian Book Review, July, 1996, p. 60; December, 1996, p. 86; May, 1997, p. 60.

Kliatt, March, 2004, Julie Scordato, review of Wildlight: A Journey, p. 58.

Magpies, March, 1992, p. 33; July, 1995, p. 26; May, 1996, Kerry Neary, review of Johnny Hart's Heroes, p. 50; May, 1997, p. 36; September, 1998, Anne Briggs, review of Falling Forward, p. 39; July, 2000, review of Danger Wave, p. 18; July, 2000, review of Brockey's Bananagram, p. 18; November, 2000, review of The Colour of Sunshine, p. 35; July, 2002, review of Wildlight, p. 39; July, 2002, review of The Red Boxing Gloves, p. 35; July, 2003, review of Boys of Blood and Bone, p. 41; November, 2003, review of The Really Really High Diving Tower, p. 35; November, 2004, Neville Barnard, review of Time Turns on Spooky Hill, p. 36; March, 2005, Kevin Steinberger, review of Anton Rocks On, p. 36.

Reading Time, August, 1998, p. 10; February, 1999, p. 31.

ONLINE

Aussie Reviews Online, http://www.aussiereviews.com/ (September 26, 2005), Claire Saxby, review of The Red Boxing Gloves.

Curriculum Materials Information Services Web site, http://www.amlib.eddept.wa.edu.au/ (September 27, 2005), Martin Turner, review of Boys of Blood and Bone; Jennifer Riggs, review of Wildlight.

Puffin at Penguin Books Australia Web site, http://www.penguin.com.au/ (September 26, 2005).

State Library of Victoria Web site, http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/ (September 26, 2005).

Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge Web site, http://www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/ (September 26, 2005), "David Metzenthen."

Word Weavers Press Web site, http://www.wordweaverspress.com.au/ (September 26, 2005).

Susan Meyers (1942-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next] [back] John (Wesley) Metcalf Biography

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