When you write a biography of a high-profile figure, how important is it to have their approval? David Marr, Paul Barry and Andrew Burrell have tackled some of the biggest names in Australia: Tony Abbott, George Pell, Patrick White, Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer and Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. Come behind the scenes as they chat with Helen O’Neill about the processes and challenges they faced.
David Marr (Australian)
David Marr is the multi-award-winning author of four Quarterly Essays including his most recent, The Prince: Faith, Abuse and George Pell. His other works include Patrick White: A Life, Panic and The High Price of Heaven, and as co- author with Marian Wilkinson of Dark Victory. He has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Monthly, been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch. He currently writes for the Guardian Australia and serves on the board of Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Paul Barry has won numerous awards for his work as a journalist, including a Walkley in 2001 for an expose on tax-dodging barristers. He is a former host of The Times and Witness on Channel Seven and is currently the host of the ABC's Media Watch. Award-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author Paul Barry studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. A journalist with BBC TV for ten years, he came to Australia in 1987 to work for the ABC's Four Corners, where one of his hardest-hitting reports was on multi-millionaire Alan Bond. This led to his first bestseller, The Rise and Fall of Alan Bond. Since then his books have dominated the bestseller lists. His most recent book is Breaking News: Sex, lies and the Murdoch succession.
Andrew Burrell is the author of the unauthorised biography Twiggy: The High-Stakes Life of Andrew Forrest. He has been a journalist for twenty years, covering business and politics in Australia, South-East Asia and China. He worked for the Australian Financial Review in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth before being posted as a correspondent to Jakarta and Shanghai. Andrew is currently a senior business journalist at The Australian in Perth, where he has covered the WA mining boom since 2006. He won the business prize at the West Australian Media Awards in 2006 and 2009.
Helen O’Neill is a Sydney-based writer whose work has appeared across the world. Born and educated in the UK, she has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, winning awards in science and health journalism, a Walkley nomination, and the 2010 ‘Travel Writer of the Year’. A former staff journalist on The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and Vogue Australia, her work has been widely published. O’Neill’s books include the critically acclaimed, award-winning bestseller Florence Broadhurst – Her secret and extraordinary lives and David Jones ‘175 years’. helenoneill.com