The bestselling, award-winning and critically acclaimed biography of the young Nick Cave, by award-winning writer, Mark Mordue.

Shortlisted for the ABIA Biography Book of the Year 2021

A deeply 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 a young man. It charts his family, friends, influences, milieu and, most of all, his music, revealing how Nick Cave shaped himself into the extraordinary artist he has 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 the people, time and places that went into the making of Nick Cave - from the fast-running dark river and ghost gums of Wangaratta and the punk scene that hit staid 1970s Melbourne like an atom bomb, right through to the torn wallpaper, sticky carpet and manic energy of nights at St Kilda's Crystal Ballroom.

Boy on Fire is a stunning biographical achievement.


'Mordue's exploration of Cave's protean and dynamic artistic universe, and the boy at its heart - malanderer, badlander and fabulator - is rich, sensitive, rollicking and, yes, tender' The Australian

'Boy On Fire is a beautiful book, evocative and sensual, yet with an even-handed and at times critical treatment of its subject' Sydney Review of Books

'All the relevant voices have their say, creating a wonderfully alive picture of this tumultuous time in modern Australian music ... on the page they glint with vitality and humour ... written with mercurial flair.' Books+Publishing


ISBN13: 9781460759653
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of Pages: 432
Publication Date: 1 Dec 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Publication City, Country: New South Wales, Australia
Dimensions (cm): 23.5(H) x 15.4(W) x 3.5(S)521
Weight (gm): 521

Author Biography

Mark Mordue is an Australian writer, journalist and editor. He is a co-winner of the 2014 Peter Blazey Fellowship, which recognises the development of an outstanding manuscript in the fields of biography, autobiography or life writing. He is the author of the acclaimed poetry collection Darlinghurst Funeral Rites (Transit Lounge, 2017), and the memoir Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip (Allen & Unwin, 2001), which was shortlisted for the 2002 Qantas/City of Brisbane Asia-Pacific Travel Writing Prize. His journalism has been published in Rolling Stone, Vogue, GQ, Interview, The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. He was the winner of a 1992 Human Rights Media Award and the 2010 Pascall Prize for Australian 'Critic of the Year'. From 1992 to 1997 he was the founding editor of Australia's leading pop-culture magazine, Australian Style, and from 2016 to 2018 he was the editor of the innovative inner-city Sydney cultural newspaper Neighbourhood. His poetry was shortlisted for the 2016 WB Yeats Poetry Prize and, together with his fiction, essays and memoir work, has appeared in literary journals such as HEAT, Meanjin, Griffith Review and Overland.


Boy On Fire: The Young Nick Cave

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