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Open Right

Mark Smith

Author, New Speakers

In his YA fiction, Mark combines his love of the outdoors (surfing, mountain biking, travelling) with his experience as a teacher in a residential campus on Victoria’s west coast. He believes strongly in the resilience and adaptability of young people when they’re confronted with new and challenging situations.

Where were you born?

I was born at the Mercy Hospital in Melbourne where, due to him fathering nine kids, they eventually gave Dad his own car park.

What other jobs have you had?

Outside of teaching I’ve done a variety of  things to earn a living: surf instructor, canoe instructor, Executive Officer in not-for-profit sector, paper boy, chicken sexer (in descending order of merit).

What themes are recurring in your work?

There are a few themes that recur in my writing, often when I don’t even mean them to: environmental issues, social justice (particularly indigenous and refugees), the resilience and loyalty of young people, relationships and love.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Signing a three book deal with Text Publishing after the manuscript for The Road To Winter was picked out of the slush pile and passed around the office. The resultant phone call changed my life.

Where have your works been published?

The Road To Winter has been published in Australia and NZ – as have most of my short stories.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about the environment, refugee issues, protecting our oceans, surfing, writing – and pretty much life in general.

Haven’t I seen you before?

When my book was launched my mug shot appeared everywhere – wish I’d had a better photo taken.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have a habit of breaking bones (my own), especially fingers, ribs and toes. But also my neck, twice in the one year. No, really.


The Road to Winter has been shortlisted for the following prizes:

  • Indie Book Award for Young Adult, 2017
  • West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award, 2017
  • Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation’s Aurealis Award, 2016
  • Readings Young Adult Book Prize, 2017
  • Queensland Literary Award: Griffith University Young Adult Book Award, 2017


Mark Smith was excellent arguably the best author we have had. Mark had the students captivated for the session and they have been hunting around for his book since his visit.
I would be happy to have Mark back again and can highly recommend him.

—D. Easton, Liebler Yavneh College, August 2017

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