Biographies of public figures are perennially popular with readers eager to gain insight into the lives and legacies of political leaders and media titans. But are they beholden to scandals and scoops, or can they bring valuable perspectives to historic events and how we see ourselves as a nation? Hear from Paddy Manning, Niki Savva and  Margaret Simons about how they balance public and private as they discuss their accounts of those in public life, on stage with host Laura Tingle.

Paddy Manning (Australian)

Paddy Manning

Paddy Manning is an investigative journalist and author of six books including The Successor: The High-Stakes Life of Lachlan Murdoch (Black Inc, 2022) and Body Count: How climate change is killing us (Simon & Schuster, 2020) which won the non-fiction prize in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, 2021. He has worked for The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Crikey, ABC and The Monthly where he is a contributing editor. He is completing a PhD at Macquarie University on "A Century of News Corporation."

Niki Savva (Australian)

Niki Savva

Niki Savva is an author and columnist for the The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She is a regular panellist on ABC's the Insiders. She has written four books, beginning with So Greek. Her other three books, chronicling the coups and chaos which beset the Liberal Government – The Road to Ruin, which was awarded best non-fiction prize by ABIA, Plots and Prayers and Bulldozed – have all been best sellers.

Margaret Simons (Australian)

Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of many books and numerous articles and essays. She is also a journalism academic and Honorary Principal Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne. She has won the Walkley Award for Social Equity Journalism, a Foreign Press Association Award and a number of Quill Awards, including for her reporting from the Philippines with photojournalist Dave Tacon. Her most recent work is a biography of the current Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, published this year. Other recent work includes a Quarterly Essay Cry Me A River: the Tragedy of the Murray-Darling Basin which was published in March 2020, and a biography of Penny Wong, released in October 2019. Simons co-wrote the biography of former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser. Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards in 2011.

Laura Tingle (Australian)

Laura Tingle

Laura Tingle has reported on Australian politics for more than 40 years. She joined the ABC in 2018 as chief political correspondent for 7.30, after a long career in print, notably for The Australian Financial Review. She has written four Quarterly Essays, a book about the recession of the early 1990s and won two Walkley Awards. Laura is President of the National Press Club of Australia