Mark Mordue

Jun 16, 2021

Boy On Fire

The Young Nick Cave

HarperCollins Australia 2020

Boy On Fire: The Young Nick Cave (HarperCollins, 2020) is the first volume of a long-awaited, near-mythical biography of Nick Cave by award-winning writer, Mark Mordue.

A beautiful, profound and poetic biography of the formative years of the dark prince of Australian rock 'n' roll, Boy on Fire is Nick Cave's creation story. This is a portrait of the artist as, first, a boy, and then as a young man. A deeply insightful work which charts his family, friends, influences, milieu and, most of all, his music, it reveals how Nick Cave shaped himself into the extraordinary artist he would become.

As well as a powerfully compelling biography of a singular, uncompromising artist, Boy on Fire is a fascinating social and cultural biography, a vivid and evocative rendering of a time and place, from the fast-running dark river and ghost gums of Wangaratta, to the nascent punk scene which hit staid 1970s Melbourne like an atom bomb, right through to the torn wallpaper, sticky carpet and the manic, wild energy of nights at the Crystal Ballroom.

Mark Mordue is an award-winning Australian writer, journalist, editor, and teacher. In addition to Boy On Fire, his new biography of the young Nick Cave, Mark is the author of Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip, a roadtrip memoir, and Darlinghurst Funeral Rites, a poetry collection. Mark is co-winner of the 2014 Peter Blazey Fellowship, which recognises an outstanding manuscript in the fields of biography, autobiography or life, and is winner of the 2010 Pascall Prize: Australian Critic of the Year. His work has consistently appeared across mainstream, alternative and literary publications. Mark has also been the editor of three national magazines in Australia: Stiletto in the 1980s; Australian Style in the 1990s; and Neighbourhood Paper from 2017 to 2019. His poetry, fiction, essays and memoir work have appeared in Australian literary journals including HEAT, Meanjin, Griffith Review, and Overland. Mark teaches at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

Dr Matthew Thompson is a literary nonfiction specialist who recently moved from rural Australia to the Pacific Northwest of America. He is the author of MAYHEM, Running With The Blood God, and My Colombian Death. For more information visit

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