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Emma Magenta

Author, Illustrator

Emma Magenta was born in Sydney and began her career drawing and writing her thoughts down on brown paper bags while working at Berkelouw Books in Paddington. After pinning them to the front window, they accrued a cult status and a publishing deal was offered to her by Australian publishing phenomenon; Bradley Trevor Grieve.

Since then, she has written and illustrated several adult picture books; The Peril of Magnificent Love, A Gorgeous Sense of Hope, The Origin of Lament and The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch. These books explore aspects of the feminine psyche, one’s emotional world and the secret life of relationships. They have resonated with thousands of women around the globe as an antidote to depression and a validation of hope.

Magenta has also written and illustrated her first children’s book, Orlando on a Thursday and illustrated Toni Collette’s first children’s book, Planet Yawn.

Her latest creation; The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch is Magenta’s first foray into the world of animation and follows the emotional journey of the character Phillipa Finch from death to life. A sixteen episode series screened on ABC1 in 2011, the animation also comes with an illustrated novella, interactive web environment (the viewer is able to make their own artwork) and iPhone game.

Where were you born?

I was born in Sydney and grew up in Sydney’s North West. I have always lived in the Inner City, although I travelled through Europe and The Middle East in my early twenties and North, Central and South America in my late 20’s.

What other jobs have you had?

I worked in Paddington in an Antiquarian Bookstore called Berkelouw for 10 years. I have also been a Capoeira teacher for children and adults, painted murals and was a palm and tarot reader through my 20’s after studying the two art forms since the age of 14.

What have been the highlights of your career?

The moment Bradley Trevor Grieve walked into Berkelouw Bookstore and offered me a book deal through Random House was nothing short of a fairy tale. Other highlights have been my inclusion as a finalist for The Reuben Award from the National Cartoon Society in the U.S for my first book. It was also pretty exciting to see my first animation on ABC for a few months. Perhaps the biggest highlight though was when a 16 year old boy came to my book launch this year and gave me a drawing of his imaginary character hanging out with Phillipa Finch. I was very moved by this gesture.

What themes are recurring in your work?

The reccurring themes are primarily how one relates to others, how one relates to oneself, love, hope, the shadow side of the self, animals and accessing divine intervention at particularly tricky times.

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