Markus Zusak (born 23 June 1975) is an Australian writer of German origin. 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.
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."