Michael Robotham

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Michael Robotham
Michael Robotham 2014.jpg
Michael Robotham in 2014 at Mosman Library Service
Born (1960-11-09)9 November 1960
Casino, New South Wales, Australia
Language English
Nationality Australian
Notable works Life or Death
Notable awards The CWA Gold Dagger, 2015
Years active 1975-

Michael Robotham (born 9 November 1960) is an Australian-born, internationally published crime fiction writer. His eldest daughter is the ARIA and APRA Award winning songwriter, producer and musician, Alex Hope.


Michael Robotham was born in Casino, New South Wales, and went to school in Gundagai and Coffs Harbour. In February 1979 he began a journalism cadetship on the Sydney afternoon newspaper The Sun and later worked for The Sydney Morning Herald as a court reporter and police roundsman.

In 1986, he left Australia and went to London where he worked as a reporter and sub-editor for various UK national newspapers before becoming a staff feature writer on The Mail on Sunday in 1989. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday As a feature writer, Michael was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled. The archives also revealed secrets about Rasputin and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Michael rose to become deputy features editor of The Mail on Sunday before resigning in May 1993 and accepting freelancing contracts with a number of British newspapers and magazines. In November 1993 he accepted his first ghostwriting commission, helping Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys to pen her autobiography 'Empty Cradles'. Published in 1994, it told the story of how she uncovered the truth behind Britain's Child Migrant Program which saw more than 100,000 children sent abroad between 1850 and 1967 and established the Child Migrant Trust to reunite children with their families. In 2011 'Empty Cradles' became the basis of the film 'Oranges and Sunshine' directed by Jim Loach and starring Emily Watson as Margaret Humphreys and Hugo Weaving and David Wenham as two of the child migrants.

Michael went on to collaborate on fifteen "autobiographies" for people in the arts, politics, the military and sport. Twelve of these titles became Sunday Times bestsellers and sold more than 2 million copies. These books included the autobiographies of Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell, British comedy actor, Ricky Tomlinson and sixties musical legend Lulu.

In 1996 Michael returned to Australia with his family and continued writing full-time. In 2002, a partial manuscript of his first novel, The Suspect, became the subject of a bidding war at the London Book Fair. It was later translated into 24 languages and sold over a million copies around the world. His books have since won, or been shortlisted for numerous awards including the UK Gold Dagger and US Edgar Award

Four of Michael's 'Joe O'Loughlin novels' have been turned into TV movies in Germany and an English language TV series is in development. His standalone novels 'Life or Death' and 'The Secret She Keeps' have also been optioned for film and TV projects in the US and UK.

Awards and nominations[edit]




  • "Shots ezine" [3] 2003
  • "The Advertiser" [4] June 26, 2007
  • "The Age" [5] August 19, 2007
  • "reviewingtheevidence" [6] Undated, possibly end 2007
  • "The Book Show" - discussion with Peter Temple [7] July 25, 2008

Neben der Spur - Television film series Germany, ZDF[edit]

  • Adrenalin (The Suspect) [2] 2014
  • Amnesie (Drowned) [3] 2015