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Open Right

Mirranda Burton

Author, Illustrator, Social Issues

Mirranda Burton is an artist, writer and author of graphic novels. Her work is fuelled by a passion for history, social issues and a dream of humans finding new ways to understand each other.

Where were you born?

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, mainly lived on the north shore amidst smells of the sea and onion grass for the first 7 years of my life. Our family moved to Australia in 1981.

What other jobs have you had?

I have worked in the animation industry on commercial and independent productions, freelance illustration, teaching, and disability support work. I even had a regular gig drawing on a bald man’s head at an annual science show.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Humanitarian issues, social commentary and history. I write and draw with a critical bent, but always highlighting the chinks of light and humour to be found in the cracks. I have explored themes of neurodiversity/disability and Australian history.

What have been the highlights of your career?

I’ve been so lucky to meet an incredible spectrum of people from around the world as a result of being a storyteller. Watching students discover their super-power when they discover the art of making comics is a delight. I’ve always loved opportunities to participate in writers festivals.

Where have your works been published?

Hidden was released by Black Pepper Publishing in Melbourne, Australia, and later released under the title Cachés by La Boîte à Bulles in France. Underground: Marsupial Outlaws and Other Rebels of Australia’s War in Vietnam was released by Allen & Unwin in Melbourne, Australia.

What are you passionate about?

Doing work that makes people ask the right questions, real change in the world, making a difference, the graphic literature form, printmaking, drawing, music, raising plants, reading, tea, laughing with friends, wombats, making stop frame animation experiments, discovering new words and phrases, listening to writers talk about their work, and trying to learn more about the bushland where I live.

Haven’t I seen you before?

I did a lot of busking as a marimba player in Rundle Mall, Adelaide, back in the 1980s. Maybe you tossed me a coin. Thanks!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

In my worldly travels I am often confused with the fizzy orange drink ‘Mirinda’, or ‘merenda’ – Portuguese for a packed lunch.


Our session with Mirranda Burton was awe-inspiring! Even the teachers in attendance remarked that they learned a lot from the session. Mirranda led our Year 10 students (who were not familiar with the history behind her GN) on an amazing journey of discovery; they learned about the history of Australia and the Vietnam War from a people’s perspective, they learned about the amount and types of research necessary when writing history and people’s stories, and they learned about the importance of being graphically literate. Mirranda also helped our students to better interpret the graphic metaphors and other imagery contained in her work. Mirranda is eloquent, thoughtful and a truly talented writer/illustrator. We are now considering the use of her graphic novel as one of our English texts for next year.

—Catherine Hainstock, Fintona Girls' School - 2022

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