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Article  •  18 October 2022


Why everyone is obsessed with Melina Marchetta (again)

Melina Marchetta is having a moment in 2022. Find out what the author has been doing and learn about recent developments regarding her beloved debut novel, Looking for Alibrandi.

Melina Marchetta first rose to fame in 1992 with the publication of her debut novel, Looking for Alibrandi.

Telling the story of seventeen-year-old, Italian-Australian Josephine, the heart-warming YA novel catapulted Marchetta to literary success.

Thirty years after Looking for Alibrandi’s initial publication, the book remains a modern classic for young Australian readers today. Since 1992, Melina has only continued to flourish, and it seems that readers across the country are once again buzzing about her brilliance – and for good reason.

With the 30th anniversary of Looking for Alibrandi celebrated this year, a play based on the novel, and a new children’s book out in time for Christmas, it’s safe to say that Melina’s star is shining as bright today as it ever has.

30 years of Looking for Alibrandi

If you haven’t read Looking for Alibrandi by now, what are you waiting for?

The beloved book is full of humour, warmth, and heart-wrenching moments that withstand the test of time. YA readers of all ages have adored the book for 30 years, and to return the love, a 30th-anniversary edition of Looking for Alibrandi comes out on 18 October 2022.

Looking for Alibrandi 30th edition cover, showing a pink and purple sunset behind the ANZAC bridge with two people on a scooter in the foreground.
Looking for Alibrandi 30th anniversary edition

This deluxe hardback edition has a gorgeous new cover and contains some special bits and bobs for fans of the book and author. In addition to an exclusive preface from Melina herself, the book includes exclusive photographs, letters, reviews, articles and mementos from the first publication.

Readers will also be delighted to see extracts from the original edited manuscript and Melina’s correspondence with her editor and publisher.

Whether you’re a long-time fan or a first-time reader, there couldn’t be a better way to enjoy the beautiful story of Looking for Alibrandi. 


Looking for Alibrandi, the play

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Given its popularity, it’s no surprise that Looking for Alibrandi was adapted for film in 2000 – and finally, there is now a play based on the book as well.

Currently running at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre in co-production with Malthouse Theatre, the play tells the same story in a new format. Written by Vidya Rajan, an award-winning screenwriter, theatre-maker and comedian, the script shines while staying to the original text.

According to a review from Beat Magazine, ‘The Malthouse’s Looking for Alibrandi masterfully creates a vision of the 90s that doesn’t discredit the play’s role in the present day.’ 


  • Where: Belvoir St Theatre, Upstairs Theatre
  • When: 1 October – 6 November 2022
  • Duration 2 hours, 20 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)
  • For more information, click here .


Zola and the Christmas Lights

‘But what has Melina been up to in the meantime?’ you might be wondering.

Since Looking for Alibrandi first came out, the author has written several more books for young adults, adults, and kids.  

Her latest children’s series, What Zola Did, is about an adventurous young girl and the neighbourhood escapades she embarks on. With one book for every day of the week, the series sees Zola knit a scarf, form a band, and so much more.

As a companion to the series, Melina has also published a Christmas picture book this month, Zola and the Christmas Lights. Featuring beautiful illustrations by Deb Hudson, the book evokes the wonder of Christmas just in time for the festive season.

Zola and the Christmas lights book cover, showing a young girl holding a dog in the foreground and trees with Christmas lights in the background.
Zola and the Christmas Lights

After two years without Christmas lights on Zola’s street, she’s determined to bring the tradition back. She has learned a lot about traditions lately and how other families celebrate in different ways. With the help of family and friends, Zola succeeds in lighting her street up in celebration.

Not only will the book captivate young readers, but it will also teach them the value of tradition and the importance of accepting traditions that are different from their own.


Want to celebrate Melina Marchetta yourself? Grab your copy of the 30th edition Looking for Alibrandi!

Featured Titles

Looking for Alibrandi
A deluxe hardback edition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the multi-award-winning and bestselling YA classic beloved by so many.
Read more
Zola and the Christmas Lights
Celebrate community, kindness, hope and all the wonder of the festive season in a heartwarming Christmas picture book from the bestselling author of Looking for Alibrandi Melina Marchetta and joyous illustrator Deb Hudson.
Read more

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