It's been 25 years since Looking for Alibrandi was first published, and it remains one of the most well-loved Young Adult books in Australia. To celebrate the anniversary, we spoke to author Melina Marchetta and learned a few things about the book...
1. The book isn't based on Marchetta's life, but rather her world.
"I wrote because I loved reading so much, but I was disappointed that I didn’t see myself in those words. There was nothing about my or my family's experiences out there, including on film.
"[But] I think that what happens if you write too much about your personal experience is it does become a limited experience... I always say if we had to write about our own lives - well mine anyway - it would be so so boring. Especially as a writer, a lot of the excitement is happening in your head. But writing about your world is a lot bigger."
2. Josie was inspired by a few people in Marchetta's life.
3. And so was Jacob Coote.
4. The very first version of the story Marchetta wrote was pretty different. Josie wasn't Josie, for starters .
5. And the completed draft of Josie's story was pretty different from the finished product. It included Josie in uni, and a happy ending with Jacob Coote.
6. Marchetta originally wanted to incorporate her grandfather's stories, but ended up focusing on her grandmother's.
7. The book was rejected several times before it was finally published by Penguin.
8. But it was an immediate success when it was published.
9. Writing the book gave Marchetta the confidence to go to university.
10. Marchetta says she'll never write a sequel.
11. But she totally thinks Jacob and Josie belong together.
Catch Melina Marchetta at the Emerging Writers' Festival, 14-23 June 2017.