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Open Right

Matt Zurbo

Author, Illustrator

Matt is a born storyteller. Whether is be recounting his brutally frank time with AFL legends, or creating children’s books full of love of life, he packs colour, punch and passion into his talks, and always engages the audience.

What other jobs have you had?

As well as author and illustrator I have spent 15 years building temperate rainforests in Victoria and Tasmania, been a harvester, tree arborist in the tropics, wood cutter, farm worker, and am currently building a mountain walk along the coastal cliffs near Shipsterns Bluff, in Southern Tassie.

What themes are recurring in your work?

The kids books are; fun, imagination, and a desire to do. The YA books and novels are honesty, and rough poetry. The footy work is, again, an un-polished honesty, and love of the game.

What have been the highlights of your career?

1. While watching my old bush team play in the Grand Final, a former teammate told me his grandfather had terminal cancer, and they had decided my footy book would be the last thing he will read. I found it very moving. 2. Putting friends in my books. Hearing kids as they smile and shout lines from the books! Having one of my kids books turned into an Emmy winning cartoon was pretty cool. Being CBC shortlisted.  3. But, mostly, the highlight is always the next book! Giving stories, hearing stories.

What are you passionate about?

So many things. Honesty. Not glossing up youth. Being passionate. Stories, storytelling, bush footy. Family. My work in the bush. Wearing your heart on your sleeve. Music. Community.


We really enjoyed having Matt here, he engaged the children, teachers and delivered his message about storytelling perfectly. Students responded to Matt’s humour and ability to tell stories to get his message across. We appreciated the extra resources he provided and the follow up activities for students. Matt also adapted his plan to suit the audience size and age groups.

—J. Branson, Townsville City Libraries, August 2018

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