By the age of 30, Markus Zusak became the author of five young adult books and has won several literary awards as a result. Though he grew up (and currently lives) in Australia, his parents are German and Austrian. As a child, he remembers hearing stories about WW2, including the bombing of Munich and the marching of Jews through the street. His father was a house painter (like his character Hans Huberman), but Zusak claims he could not have been successful following his father's profession. It is not a wonder where many of his ideas for The Book Thief stemmed from.
An avid reader as a teenager, Zusak also claims that he began mentally composing stories as he was inspired while reading. Some life-changing and inspirational books for Zusak include The Old and the Sea, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and the novels of S.E. Hinton.
In Australia he is the owner of cats, but claims to be a dog person. He has one brother and and at least one sister. He continues to enjoy reading, writing, and watching movies.