John Marsden is the third of four children: the position traditionally occupied by the rebel of the family! John's father was a bank manager, and it was the custom in those days for banks to transfer staff regularly. As a result, John went to a number of different primary schools, in Victoria, Tasmania and Sydney.
From an early age John enjoyed the journeys into magical worlds that reading could provide. His teachers in Grade 4 and Grade 6 encouraged him to write, and at the age of nine, inspired by his favourite writers such as Enid Blyton and Nan Chauncy, he decided he wanted to become an author.
For seven years John attended The King's School Parramatta, a strict military school in Sydney, and from there went on to the University of Sydney. However, he soon decided that a career in law looked too boring, so he dropped out and drifted around for nearly 10 years, trying jobs as diverse as motorcycle courier, truck driver and hospital clerk.
When John was 28, he began a teaching course, which he loved from the start. Embarking on a teaching career, he also became more and more interested in writing, and in 1987 succeeded in getting his first book, So Much to Tell You, published. A string of huge hits followed, highlighted by the Tomorrow series and The Ellie Chronicles. John has now sold more than two and a half million books in Australia alone, but is also an international bestseller, with many major awards to his credit.
John's interest in education has never waned. In 1998 he bought the Tye Estate, 850 acres of natural bush, on the northern edge of Melbourne, and later added the property next door. For eight years he ran enormously popular writers' courses and camps at Tye, before starting his own school there, Candlebark, in 2006.
In 2014, John moved into new literary territory, publishing his first novel for adults, South of Darkness. The book met with instant success, winning the Fellowship of Australian Writers Christina Stead award for Best Australian novel of the year. In 2015 John purchased a second school in Victoria's Macedon Ranges, which he plans to open in 2016 as a secondary school specialising in the performing arts.