|Born||Antonella Josephine Clementine Gambotto
19 September 1965
|Occupation||Journalist, nonfiction writer, novelist|
|Genres||memoir, literary nonfiction|
|Notable work(s)||The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide (2004)|
|Children||Bethesda Gambotto-Burke (born 2005)|
Antonella Gambotto-Burke (née Antonella Gambotto, born 19 September 1965) is an Australian author and journalist.
Gambotto-Burke has written one novel, The Pure Weight of the Heart, two anthologies, Lunch of Blood and An Instinct for the Kill, and a memoir, The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide, which has been published in four languages. Her best known comic interview – with Warwick Capper, a retired Australian rules footballer, and his wife – is included in The Best Australian Profiles (Black Inc., 2004). "The best profiles lodge deep in the public mind, such as ... Antonella Gambotto's cheerfully dopey Warwick and Joanne Capper, which presaged by years the arrival of Kath & Kim", Matthew Ricketson wrote in 2005. The Sydney Morning Herald named her as a high-profile member of Mensa International. She is a teetotaler, has never owned a television, and has a bat tattoo on her right shoulder. "I was going to have the Harley Davidson logo, but [the tattooist] convinced me I'd regret it," she explained.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Bibliography
- 3 Visual media
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Gambotto-Burke was born in North Sydney and moved to East Lindfield on Sydney's North Shore at the age of four, the first child and only daughter of the late Giancarlo Gambotto, whose High Court win against WCP Ltd. changed Australian corporate law, made the front pages of The Australian Financial Review and The Australian, is still featured in corporate law exams, and was the subject of a book edited by Ian Ramsay, Professor of Law at Melbourne University.
Raised a Roman Catholic, she attended Lindfield East Primary School and Killara High School, where she distinguished herself through debate and academic achievement and was dux of her year in 1980. She also consistently came first in English after her first year and, in 1980, French. In 1982, she was selected to partake in the State Debating Trials a year early. Her team's first speaker was Senator Richard Alston's former Chief of Staff and now Liberal Member of Parliament, Paul Fletcher. Gambotto-Burke was first published in The Sydney Morning Herald at the age of sixteen – a satire of poet Les Murray's "An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow", later included in Michele Field's anthology Shrinklit (1983). She was first published in The Australian at the age of eighteen. Her first short story was published in literary magazine Billy Blue Magazine in July 1982.
Initial journalistic success and controversy
In 1984, she moved to London, where she was employed as a music critic by NME and where, on the advice of an editor, she wrote under the pseudonyms Antonella Black and Ginger Meggs. Her review of Cliff Richard's concert inspired him to sue the music journal. She also wrote "A Man Called Horse", an unflattering cover story of alternative rock star Nick Cave, in which she documented his heroin-induced stupor (in retaliation, he wrote a song about her and British journalist Mat Snow entitled "Scum"; a photograph of Gambotto-Burke and Snow was published with Snow's account of the story in The Guardian). Gambotto-Burke wrote about the experience most recently in September 2006, and the interview has been reprinted for the third time in Nick Cave: Sinner, Saint. The Cave interview, and the story behind it, are also included in her book Lunch of Blood, while Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds included a version of "Scum" on their 2005 box set, B-Sides And Rarities.
Her interviewees included Martin Amis, Elle Macpherson, Gerard Depardieu, Ben Elton, Morrissey, Thierry Mugler, Marc Newson, Deepak Chopra, Flavio Briatore, Robert Smith, Erica Jong, Colleen McCullough, Jeffrey Archer, Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, Jerry Hall and Naomi Wolf.
Gambotto-Burke won UK Cosmopolitan magazine's New Journalist of the Year Award in 1988. That same year, she became engaged to the UK GQ editor Michael VerMeulen. In 1989 she returned to Sydney, after the demise of her relationship with VerMeulen, who died from a cocaine overdose at the age of 38 in 1995. Before leaving London, Gambotto-Burke wrote for The Independent on Sunday, notably a cover story on cardiothoracic surgeons.
In 1989, she returned to Sydney, where she resumed contributing to The Weekend Australian as a feature profile writer and literary critic, and also began writing for The South China Morning Post, The Globe and Mail in Canada, Harper's Bazaar, Men's Style Australia, and other international publications. Channel Nine Entertainment Director Richard Wilkins noted that "if you're on her wavelength, the interview is a most enjoyable experience. If not, it could be quite disconcerting. The key is to be open and honest with her."
Lunch of Blood (Random House, 1994), her first book and first anthology, peaked at number six on the best-seller lists. The Newcastle Herald observed that Gambotto-Burke's "command of language is delicious to the point where one wonders which came first, her wish to display her ability or the desire to share her impressions." In 1997, An Instinct for the Kill, her second anthology, was published to mixed reviews by HarperCollins. (Age critic Katherine Wilson singled out the Capper interview as "laugh-out-loud" funny.)
The introduction to Gambotto-Burke's work in The Best Australian Profiles reads: "Gambotto is probably the closest Australia has come to having a profile writer who is a celebrity in their own right ... and from the early 1990s readers became as interested in Gambotto as they were in the people she profiled."
Edward De Bono, who wrote the foreword to An Instinct for the Kill, tells of her philosophical position: "Antonella is not afraid of words, ideas, her own opinions or the opinions of others. Perception is personal so truth is also personal. This is much more like Protagoras than like Plato. For Protagoras, perception was the only truth – but it was changeable. For Plato, the fascist, truth was what you had reached when you thought it was the absolute."
In Undercover Agent, Murray Waldren noted that "an interview with [Gambotto-Burke] often has the studied savagery of the corrida amid the crystal cruet ambience of high tea at the Ritz. Such ritualistic disembowelling, highly entertaining and in stark contrast to the asinine, PR-driven pap of most modern profiles, leave the gored stirred and very shaken."
She was a contributor to the late Peter Blazey's anthology of short stories Love Cries: Cruel Passions, Strange Desires (1995); in The Sydney Morning Herald, Gail Cork described Gambotto's contribution as "outstanding" and in Who (magazine), Margaret Smith noted its "darkly sinister" overtones. "The Astronomer," a short story presaging many of the themes in her first novel, was published in 1989. Eight years later, Gambotto-Burke's first novel, The Pure Weight of the Heart (also featuring an astronomer), was published by Orion Publishing in London, and went to number six on the Sydney Morning Herald's best-seller list. It was also Tatler's book of the month. Author Matthew Condon elaborated in The Age: "Her razor eye for the architecture of pretension and her ability to record untidied dialogue, especially the way it can betray the human mind and soul, have made her an object of fear and derision. To have been 'Gambottoed' is to have had a vein opened."
Despite describing herself as "very suburban", Gambotto-Burke mocked her public persona by appearing (clothed) in FHM and in tongue-in-cheek shoots for fashion magazines and newspapers. Literary editor Andrew Clark opened his 1999 Melbourne Writers' Festival report with his account of her performance with British crime writer P. D. James: "Antonella Gambotto leaned towards the microphone, fluttered her eyelids, examined the audience with studied poise, started talking about football, then asked: 'What do you people in Melbourne call it?'"
"THIS IS JUST TO SEND
69 long-stemmed white roses
tied with a white ribbon
and which you were probably
In a Sydney Weekly cover story, Gambotto-Burke noted: "People have a very strange idea of what I'm like."
After her brother Gianluca, a Macquarie Bank executive, committed suicide in 2001, Gambotto-Burke changed. She began reading obsessively on death and on suicide, "trying to make sense of the experience, trying to become big enough to let go of my brother. That’s what bereavement is about – surrendering the memory, the relationship." To this end, she relocated to Byron Bay, where she wrote The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide, a book about her brother's suicide and her engagement to, and the death of, late British GQ editor Michael VerMeulen. In a November 2003 interview with a British magazine, she said: "I wanted to explain depression as a valid emotional response rather than as a disease ... I am not ashamed of my brother, and I do not see death as tragic – deliberate ignorance and fear are tragedies, not death."
In a 2004 review section cover story for The Weekend Australian, Murray Waldren wrote that Gambotto-Burke used to be "upfront in other ways, being acerbic and self-deprecatory while displaying trip-wire intellect and romantic girlishness ... But the past ten years have been a whirl of small triumphs, deep sorrows and much death, and they have left Gambotto bruised, saddened, and now, resolutely remade."
Gambotto-Burke was commissioned to write the core love stories of artist David Bromley's series of films, I Could Be Me (narrated by Hugo Weaving), which premiered at the Adelaide Festival in 2008. In an essay, she noted that, "As scripts are founded on what Alan Alda calls the 'subsurface tectonics of emotion,' the result can sometimes be a psychic slam dunk." Director Bromley described the film as "like a kaleidoscope of images and it is run by my poetry and short stories by Antonella. And it has a large animation component."
Marriage and Motherhood
She was a regular contributor to My Child magazine. Her column, Raising Bethesda, concerned life with her husband, Alexander Gambotto-Burke, a journalist and musician, and their baby. She wrote about his marriage proposal in Vogue. Their daughter Bethesda was born in December 2005, and baptised in 2007 by Bishop John Shelby Spong. In December, 2011, she wrote of her marriage in Vogue: "This magic was not transient. The sense was not of treasures pilfered, nor was it founded on glamour. In its place, a feeling of plainness and honesty, of life boiled to its bones, and in that, a joyous discarding of all elaboration. For once, life was enough." 
Gambotto-Burke has in recent years changed her journalistic focus. Her writing about human trafficking has been syndicated around the world. She is also a widely published literary critic and essayist. Gambotto-Burke specialises in reviewing nonfiction – memoir, psychology, philosophy, and popular culture – and continues to address controversial topics such as paternal infanticide and mental illness in her essays. The Sydney Morning Herald critic Doug Anderson described her book reviews as having "the silken sting of iced nylons." In 2006, Gambotto-Burke told Vogue that "Language shapes consciousness and from consciousness, our world is shaped."
Her choice of interviewees remains eclectic. Recent interviewees include Marilyn Manson, Bette Midler, David Sedaris, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, and her interview with actor Eric Bana was the cover story for Live, The Mail on Sunday's weekend magazine. She has critiqued authors as disparate as American playwright David Mamet, Neil Gaiman and Michael Chabon, and has written a number of lead news stories for The Australian's business pages, most recently about lawyers and legal issues.
In July 2009, she announced that a book contract had been signed. She did not mention the title, only that it would be published in 2011. In May 2013, she announced that the book, "invested with a Grady Tripp-like intensity," would be published in April 2014.
- An Instinct for the Kill (HarperCollins Australia, 1997)
- Lunch of Blood (Random House Australia, 1994)
- Mouth (2014)
- The Pure Weight of the Heart (Orion UK, 1998)
- The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide (Broken Ankle Books, 2003)
- Release date announced as 2014
As a contributor
- Nick Cave: Sinner, Saint: The True Confessions, 30 Years of Essential Interviews, edited by Mat Snow (Plexus Publishing, 2011).
- My Favourite Teacher, edited by Robert Macklin (University of New South Wales Press, 2011).
- Your Mother Would Be Proud: True Tales of Mayhem and Misadventure,, edited by Tamara Sheward and Jenny Valentish (Allen & Unwin, 2009).
- What Is Mother Love?, edited by Selwa Anthony (Penguin, 2008).
- Some Girls Do ... My Life as a Teenager, edited by Jacinta Tynan (Allen & Unwin, 2007).
- The Best Australian Profiles, edited by Matthew Ricketson (Black Inc., 2004).
- The Thoughts of Chairman Stan, by Stan Zemanek (HarperCollins Australia, 1998): afterword by Gambotto-Burke.
- Love Cries: Cruel Passions, Strange Desires, edited by Peter Blazey (HarperCollins Australia, 1995).
- This I Believe: 100 Eminent Australians Explore Life's Big Question, edited by John Marsden (writer) (Random House Australia, 1996).
- ShrinkLit, edited by Michele Field (Penguin, 1983).
- I Could Be Me, directed by David Bromley (2008)
- "The Blond Leading the Blond," by Antonella Gambotto, Mode, 1994
- "Close Up: Review," by Matthew Ricketson, The Age, 18 June 2005.
- "Mensa's Australian connection," The Sydney Morning Herald, 19–20 June 2004.
- "From the heart," by Julia Ross, The Brisbane News, 25 September 1998.
- "Crossing swords, drawing blood," by Jennifer Byrne, The Sunday Age, 8 May 1994.
- "Needle Work: The Lure of Tattoos," by Antonella Gambotto, Cleo magazine, April 1990.
- "Antonella Gambotto draws blood," by Stuart Coupe, Juice, March 1994.
- Gambotto v WCP Ltd: Its Implications for Corporate Regulation, edited by Ian M. Ramsay, Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation, Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1996. ISBN 0-7325-0821-5
- Interview by Finnish poet Kimmo Leijala
- The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke
- The Green Years yearbooks, 1978 – 1982
- Personal blog Antonella Gambotto-Burke
- Billy Blue Magazine covers. Ross Renwick
- Introduction, An Instinct for the Kill, by Antonella Gambotto, HarperCollins, 1997
- "Bet you think this song is about you," by Dave Simpson, The Guardian, 13 December 2008.
- "Scum: The Inside Dope," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, Men's Style, Spring 2006.
- Nick Cave: Sinner, Saint – The True Confessions, edited by Mat Snow, Plexus Publishing, 2011.
- Author's website
- "Affairs of the Heart," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Independent on Sunday Review, 17 March 1991.
- "In the blood," by Murray Waldren, The Australian Magazine, 26–27 March 1994.
- "The Best Australian Profiles: Review," by Katherine Wilson, The Age, 23 October 2004.
- The Best Australian Profiles, edited by Matthew Ricketson, Black Inc., 2004.
- An Instinct for the Kill, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, HarperCollins, 1997 (back cover).
- Dining Out with Mr. Lunch, by Murray Waldren, University of Queensland Press, 1999.
- The Peter Blazey Fellowship, School of Historical Studies, The Australia Center, 2009
- "A Vile Book for Mean and Pitiful People," by Gail Cork, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 January 1995; "Love Cries," by Margaret Smith, Who, 27 February 1995.
- "The Astronomer," by Antonella Gambotto, Billy Blue Magazine, Summer 1989.
- "Another phrase of her life," by Matthew Condon, The Age, 22 August 1998.
- "At Odds with Reality," by Muriel Reddy, The Sunday Age, 8 May 1994.
- "Best Sellers: Antonella Gambotto," FHM, May 1999.
- "Double Take," Mode, 1994.
- "Hunters and Collectors," The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 August 1994.
- "Rich pickings in Melbourne's festival of ideas," by Andrew Clark, The Sunday Age, 12 June 1999.
- Don Anderson's biography in The Australian Literary Review, November 2009
- "69 ways to make tirra lirra with La Gambotto," by Don Anderson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13–14 August 1994.
- "Gambotto's Gamble," by Michael Adams, The Sydney Weekly, 7–13 July 1998.
- "Death and the Maiden," by Murray Waldren, The Weekend Australian, 20–21 March 1994.
- "Soul Searcher," by Laura McCreddie, Yoga Magazine, Issue 10, November 2003.
- David Bromley's personal website. David Bromley
- One of Gambotto-Burke's stories from artist David Bromley's film "I Could Be Me"
- "Words in Motion," by Antonella Gambotto, The Weekend Australian, 21–22 May 2005.
- "Artist's film draws on a life of images," by Penelope Debelle, The Age, 4 September 2006.
- "Mods are moving from bedroom to boardroom," by Alexander Gambotto-Burke, The Guardian, 20 December 2008
- "Does video game sex still sell?", by Judy Berman, Salon, 8 May 2009
- "Get IT Out There: Cloud Computing," by Alexander Gambotto-Burke, In the Black, July 2010.
- Blog entry about her husband
- "What Watershed?", by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, Vogue, July 2008.
- "True Romance", by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, Vogue, December 2011.
- "On the Air: Attention All Fogies," by Doug Anderson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 1993.
- "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," by Felicity Loughrey, Vogue, 2006.
- "Whom Do You Hate?", The Weekend Australian, 29 September 2007
- "Under the Radar," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The South China Morning Post, 14 September 2008
- "Just Keep Going", The South China Morning Post, 11 July 2010
- "Strangely Funny," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The South China Morning Post, 15 August 2010
- "Never mind the Hulk: Eric Bana on his 25-year obsession with the Beast," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Mail on Sunday (cover story), 2 August (9 August online), 2009.
- David Mamet, Men's Style, December 2008
- "In the Gutter", by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, Men's Style, September 2010.
- "The Lightning Rod", Men's Style, Autumn 2010
- "Working for Justice," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Australian, 16 July 2010
- "Business demands fixed fees as revolt builds against billable hours," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Australian, 20 August 2010
- "Alternative billing hours the way of the future," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Australian, 20 August 2010
- "Corporates taken to the cleaners with billing abuses," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Australian, 27 August 2010
- "Battle to curb billing abuses to gain impetus," by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Australian, 24 September 2010
- "Pulp Fiction", by Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, October 20, 2012.
- Robert Macklin at the Melbourne Writers' Festival, 2009
- Your Mother Would Be Proud – official website