Australian author Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories about Nazi Germany, about the bombing of Munich and about Jews being marched through his mother’s small, German town. He always knew it was a story he wanted to tell. At the age of 30, Zusak has asserted himself as one of today’s most innovative and poetic novelists. With the publication of The Book Thief, he is now being dubbed a "literary phenomenon" by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is the award-winning author of four previous books for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger, recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature.
Zusak lives in Sydney, where he "writes, occasionally works a real job, and plays on a soccer team that never wins." When asked about The Book Thief, he explains, "I wanted to write something very different than what I'd done before. The idea of a book stealer was in my head . . . Then I thought about writing of the things my parents had seen while growing up in Nazi Germany and Austria, and when I brought the ideas together, it seemed to work, especially when I thought about the importance of words in that time, and what they were able to make people believe." +/-