How do leaders become legends, and how does a writer expose the person behind the public face? David Marr has explored the lives of controversial politicians, eminent journalists and literary luminaries. Julia Baird revisited the life of a monarch for Victoria: The Queen, Wilson imagined the life of naturalist George Forster, who travelled with Captain Cook, and Troy Bramston wrote a sweeping biography of Paul Keating. David Marr leads a spirited discussion about why there is no such thing as a definitive biography.

Julia Baird (Australian)

Julia Baird

Dr Julia Baird is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. She hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. After the publication of her first book, Media Tarts, she moved to the United States to take up a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2007, she became senior editor of Newsweek in New York. Her work has earned her four Walkley Our Watch awards, a Walkley Award for team election reporting and two further Walkley nominations. Julia’s bestselling biography of Queen Victoria was published in several countries to critical acclaim and was one of The New York Times top ten books of 2016. In 2020 she published Phosphorescence which went onto become the highest-selling Australian non-fiction title of the year and has subsequently been named Book of the Year by the Australian Book Industry Awards, the Indie Book Awards and the ABA Booksellers’ Choice Awards.

David Marr (Australian)

David Marr

David Marr is a journalist and broadcaster who writes for The Guardian. He’s published a couple of biographies and a number of books about politics, censorship and immigration. Over the last 10 years he has written a number of Quarterly Essays. His latest is The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race. He previously presented Media Watch and appears regularly on Insiders and The Drum. His most recent book is My Country, an anthology of essays.