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Melissa Keil’s young adult novels have been published around the world, and have been described as ‘humorous, heartfelt and angst-y romance with the potential to break the gender barrier’. When she is not writing, she can be found immersed in other people’s manuscripts in her day job as a children’s book editor.
I was born in Melbourne and raised in the north-west.
Too many to count! At various times I have worked as a Mexican-restaurant waitress, community theatre dogs body, high school teacher, tour guide in the Middle East, and IT help-desk person. I have no idea how I stumbled into that last job – apart from ‘have you tried turning it off and on again’, my IT trouble-shooting skills were pretty limited. Now I work as a children’s commissioning editor.
I have a soft spot for creative, weird outsiders – for the people who don’t always have the easiest time in high school. I love exploring those characters who you just know are going to become phenomenal, interesting, happy, weird adults, but who are struggling through the phase in their lives where their awesomeness is not always appreciated.
Being selected out of 250 manuscripts to have my first novel published in the inaugural Ampersand Prize was a highlight! Since then there have been so many highlights – appearing at writers festivals and meeting young readers and writers never ceases to be amazing. Doing a comedy event on stage at the Emerging Writers Festival, and actually getting a laugh was a huge highlight, as I think it’s probably been the most nerve-inducing public speaking gig I’ve ever had!
My novels have been published all around the world – in the US and Canada, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Turkey to name a few.
I’m passionate about giving all kids the widest, fullest opportunities to experience the world and to exercise their imaginations outside of the boxes they’re often placed in; so gender representation, as well as issues of class in kids and YA books are big areas of interest for me.
Melissa was fantastic, really engaging and easy for the students to relate to. We had a variety of teachers supervising the event and they were very complimentary about her presentation and manner.
The writing workshop went well, the kids were really keen. Melissa was very knowledgeable, encouraging and keen to share resources.
I would highly recommend her to any other school.
The presentation from Melissa went very well – it was well paced and well structured. The kids enjoyed that it was centred around Life in Outer Space as that is the book they have been reading all term. There were some interesting bits of information and behind the scenes things they all found interesting. I think all our kids got to take something away from it for the future.
The audience responded very well to Melissa’s talk, and the students were keen to ask plenty of questions. Melissa inspired them to read and write. She stayed back for photos and autographs. The students were keen to read her books.