Meet Matthew Clayfield. He’s been on the frontline of the Mexican drug war in Ciudad Juarez and the battle against ISIS in Iraq, in the thick of anti-Putin protests in Russia and anti-Trump ones at the G7 meeting in Sicily, and in some of the most dangerous parts of Chechnya, the Balkans, Turkey, the West Bank and South Africa. He’s been kicked by Spanish riot police, tear-gassed by Italian ones, and has seen the black flags coming towards him. He’s a boots-on-the-ground kind of guy.
His work in conflict and post-conflict zones has given him first-hand experience of humanity at its best, worst and most extreme, while his travels generally have taught him empathy, the ability to think oneself into another’s shoes. It may not be the same as having your mind downloaded into a different body—but it’s bloody close.<
Matt wrote the screenplay for the 2015 comedy LORD JONES IS DEAD, which looked at the absurdity of the daily newspaper grind, and co-wrote the sci-fi film RESTORATION with director Stuart Willis. He also wrote the short films FROG (2009) and HOW MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR DISCOVERED LIFE ON MARS (2005), the latter of which has screened on every continent in the world, including Antarctica. His experimental documentary FIRELIGHT, about street artists in Brisbane and their resistance to corporate advertising, premiered at the Brisbane International Film Festival in 2006.
His forthcoming projects include THE DEBT COLLECTOR, a bloody revenge thriller currently in post-production, which he co-wrote with the enfant terrible of Australian independent filmmaking Richard Wolstencroft; the spec fic novella WELCOME TO ROSEVILLE, about an authoritarian micronation on the Western Australian coast; and the novel A DEATH IN PHNOM PENH, about drink-soaked expatriates in Southeast Asia. He’s also developing two television projects, an alt-historical Western, THE MAN FROM WESTRALIA, and a neo-noir, BLACK CASUARINA; working on a non-fiction book about the history of mankind’s relationship with Satan; and is two chapters into a webcomic, THE TYGER, about the political uses of fear.
He has worked as a freelance foreign correspondent in more than fifteen countries, specialising in first-person narrative journalism, political commentary and travel writing. His journalism has appeared in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, The Guardian Australia, The Monthly, and more. He was a staff reporter with The Australian between 2008 and 2010 and a reporter at ABC Radio Current Affairs between 2016 and 2017. He was a shortlisted finalist for Young Journalist of the Year in the 2009 News Limited News Awards.
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