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Matt Killeen

Writer for young adults
University of Kent at Canterbury

Matt Killeen is a bestselling author of historical fiction for young adults. His first novel, Orphan Monster Spy (Usborne, 2018), was the story of a Jewish-German orphan and her undercover work in a Nazi boarding school. Born out of a lifetime’s horrified fascination with the Second World War, it was shortlisted for the Costa Book awards, the Branford Boase award and won the SCBWI Crystal Kite in 2019. The sequel, Devil Darling Spy, (Usborne, 2020), expands on the themes of the first, and explores racism, imperialism and the moral complexity of war.

Matt has had a great many creative careers, making a living as an advertising copywriter and a music and sports journalist. Following eight years writing for the LEGO® company – a childhood ambition – he continues to pen LEGO-licensed chapter books for an independent publisher. He is passionate about his work for the 2269 project – an invitation to a party in 250 years’ time, designed to promote deeper thinking about the future – and is a contributor to PC Gamer and GamesRadar.

Matt Killeen holds an MA in Creative Writing for Young People from the Manchester Writing School at MMU and a degree in film, television and art, which lead to awards from Eastman and MoFilm. He regularly visits schools to talk about heroes, resistance, Nazi Germany and to run creative writing workshops.

He lives near London with his soulmate, children, dog and musical instruments, looking wistfully north at a hometown that has been largely demolished and rebuilt in his lengthy absence.

Matt Killeen


University of Kent at Canterbury 2023/24
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