Dr Matt Thompson is a distinguished writer renowned for his intrepid, compelling, and profoundly insightful explorations of highly complex people and circumstances.
Matt is the subject of Chapter 1 of Fear and Loathing Worldwide: Gonzo Journalism Beyond Hunter S. Thompson (Bloomsbury Academic), a book about the world's leading writers working in the Gonzo tradition.
In addition to his three acclaimed nonfiction books, My Colombian Death, Running With The Blood God, and MAYHEM, Matt has created an influential and compelling body of longform prose and audio reporting from conflict zones of the southern Philippines: a region close to his heart.
Matt - who holds a Doctorate in literary journalism - is also an accomplished public speaker and internationally experienced university lecturer. He has more than a dozen years under his belt of teaching highly diverse student cohorts in often challenging circumstances (including under military rule) in Australia and the South Pacific.
Born in America's Pacific Northwest, Matt was taken as a child to Australia, where he learned to fight, sired a child, was awarded a University Medal, became a globetrotting master of reportage, a firefighter/rescue operator, before recently returning to Oregon.
Matt Thompson is the author of three acclaimed nonfiction books.
MAYHEM is a first-person biography. An avant-garde work that disrupts the too-often formulaic crime genre, MAYHEM is praised as “like brutal poetry” by bestselling author John Birmingham. Matt’s ‘documentary in writing’ plunges the reader into the wildly unhinged, damaged consciousness of Christopher ‘BADNE$$’ Binse: originally a troubled child disowned by his struggling mother. After becoming a ward of the state, Binse is taken into often brutal juvenile homes and detention, where he muscled up to meet the challenge, evolving into being Australia’s most uncontrollable prisoner, bandit, and jailbreaker who is now serving 18 years in solitary confinement at the country’s highest security prison. The prison cancelled access, so Matt used unauthorised methods to gain extensive interviews with Binse over years. Despite the book being labelled and marketed as authored by Matt, the intensity and clarity of Binse’s voice that Matt channeled in this fearsome act of ‘method writing’ left even people intimately familiar with the outlaw convinced that the prose was direct from Binse. Work on a screenplay is underway.
RUNNING WITH THE BLOOD GOD (2013)
Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, Running with the Blood God is a work of powerhouse reportage exploring free-thinking and its deceptive borderlands. Matt throws the reader into the streets, homes, minds, rituals, upheavals, playgrounds, protests, and conflict zones of a diverse range of ‘discontents’ in the Middle East, South East Asia, Europe, and the United States. In Matt's quest, he finds himself sprinting from hiking into bamboo forests with armed rebels while braced for military assaults, playing polymorphous sexual ‘games’ in secret venues, being smuggled into incendiary midnight martyrdom ceremonies, sprinting from phalanxes of riot police on motorbikes, eating opium before night drives to clandestine nuclear facilities, braving a bloody stand-off with Balkan nationalists, and weeping uncontrollably at Native American ceremonies in Oregon.
MY COLOMBIAN DEATH (2008)
My Colombian Death is a deranged travelogue pressure-testing the relationship between authenticity and risk. It details several months Matt spent in Colombia, having coffee with the head of the right-wing death squads, illuminating a thoroughly paramilitarized culture, night-boxing in isolated barrios with gang members intoxicated and out to kill, running with bulls, forming complex friendships with traumatized mavericks, and undergoing profoundly distressing ceremonies with a Native shaman. My Colombian Death was a critical and commercial success, and sparked an ill-advised tourist surge in certain parts of Colombia.
A specialist in immersive reportage, Matt has hiked into bamboo forests to dine with Filipino guerrillas, sprinted from Iranian riot police, 'died' in traumatic rituals with a Colombian shaman, toured Kosovo with Serb nationalists, wept inconsolably at an Oregon pow wow, and much else.
This is how Matt became 'the embodiment of Gonzo Down Under'. The first chapter of Fear and Loathing Worldwide: Gonzo Journalism Beyond Hunter S. Thompson (2018, Bloomsbury Academic) is about Matt.
Matt is published by SPIN, Australian Foreign Affairs, the BBC, the ABC, the Sydney Review of Books, the Weekend Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, Dazed + Confused, and many others.
In addition to writing and recording radio documentaries such as The Last Conquistador, set on the conflict-plagued island of Basilan in the Sulu Archipelago, Matt Thompson hosts a channel of the New Book Network.
The NBN is the English-speaking world's premier showcase of educational nonfiction and academic writing.
Matt interviews authors whose work falls into the category of New Books in Australian and New Zealand Studies.
Matt's other audio work includes Young People Against Heavy Metal T-Shirts, his inside story of the legendary youth morals movement, broadcast in the U.S. and Australia.
Matt Thompson is an accomplished university lecturer, course designer, and public speaker. For the past decade and more he taught into graduate and bachelor media programs at the world-class University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
Matt also taught journalism at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji during the late stages of military rule.
Matt is a University Medal winner and a Doctor of Creative Arts, with his doctoral dissertation in literary journalism examined by New York University’s Director of Literary Reportage, Robert Boynton.