Morris Gleitzman was born in the Lincolnshire town of Sleaford in 1953 and grew up in suburban London. According to his own account, he spent his childhood devouring every book he could lay his hands on. In 1969 his family emigrated to Australia. While he took on various temporary jobs, he increasingly felt the urge to work as a freelance author and enrolled in a Professional Writing course at the Canberra College of Advanced Education. Morris Gleitzman soon became a successful film and television scriptwriter through his work on »The Norman Gunston Show«, among others. It was only years later that he launched himself as an author, adapting his own children’s television screenplay about Ben and his unusual view of the world. The resulting children’s book, »The Other Facts of Life«, met with considerable success on publication in 1985. Over the years he has also published his own plays as well as semi-autobiographical columns for »The Sydney Morning Herald«, among others.
His children’s books tackle challenging topics in an idiosyncratic manner which is as humorous as it is unconventional. A good example is the trilogy »Once« (2005), »Then« (2008) and »Now« (2010). Partly inspired by the life of Janusz Korczak, as well as first-hand documentation of the Holocaust, the author uses the individual fate of Felix to illustrate the persecution of Jews in Poland (»Once«), life on the run in the Second World War (»Then«) and a Holocaust survivor’s modern-day existence between repression, memory and coming to terms with the past (»Now«). He knowingly links fiction to historically-proven facts. His story exudes hope for lasting values such as friendship, humanity and moral courage, even in the face of such fundamental threat. »And indeed, he has accomplished something extraordinary, presenting the best and the worst of humanity without stripping his characters of dignity or his readers of hope. He has succeeded in grasping the unimaginable, where others have merely blundered about in history«, pronounced Meg Rosoff in »The Guardian« in 2009.
Morris Gleitzman has written 33 books until today, and has received numerous national and international awards, including nominations for the Gustav Heinemann Peace Prize for Children’s and Youth Books as well as the Young Adult Jury Prize of the German Children’s Literature Award in 2010 for »Once«, as well as the Catholic Children’s and Youth Book Award in 2011. He commutes between Melbourne and Sydney.
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