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Open Right

Robin de Crespigny

Author, Corporate, Inspirational Speaker, Social Commentator, Speaking Out

Robin de Crespigny is a powerful and moving speaker who provides an alternative view on the very topical subject of asylum seekers. Her bestselling book The People Smuggler put a human face to a debate often conducted in the abstract, and her thought-provoking talks will help start constructive, non-judgmental conversations in the community.

Where were you born?

I was born in Willaura, a small town in the Western district of Victoria where I grew up with three sisters on a farm. I went to primary school in Lake Bolac, and secondary as a boarder at the Hermitage in Geelong, and later graduated from Melbourne’s La Trobe University with an Arts degree in Literature.

What other jobs have you had?

While living in New York in the 80s I began working in film. Back in Sydney, I set up a production company writing, producing and directing. In 1996 I was employed as Directing Lecturer at AFTRS, the Australian Film TV & Radio School in Sydney. Aside from film-making I have also worked as an entrepreneur touring overseas performers, in photography in San Francisco, on fishing boats and canneries in Alaska, and as the owner/manager of Sydney wine bar and music joint, The Limerick Castle.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Social justice and equality, health and addiction. I’m interested in the universal human emotions associated with loss, grief, family, and life-changing choices.

What are you passionate about?

For my book to help make Australians more compassionate and understanding towards people who are less fortunate than ourselves. I hope that it will change the direction of the debate about refugees by touching people who had previously never asked themselves what they would do if they were in the same situation. To get them to see it is not all black and white, and to gain respect and compassion for asylum seekers as fellow human beings.

Haven’t I seen you before?

The launch of the The People Smuggler at the Sydney Writers Festival in 2012, was followed by an ‘in conversation’ with myself and Ali being interviewed by Heather Ewart at the Sydney Theatre with an audience of around 400. While promoting The People Smuggler I have had media coverage with around 50 radio and TV interviews and feature articles in most of the major and regional papers. Since the main media blitz with the book I have been on a continual speaking tour for over a year doing more than one hundred author talks at libraries, universities, refugee agencies, conferences, corporate events, churches, rotary, conferences, community groups and schools. (see under events).


Just a note to say a big thank you for organising Robin to come to speak with Year 11 this week. She was an absolute success… and moved students and attending teachers to tears! We are now all busily reading her book.

—KC, (teacher), Mittagong, NSW March 2016

She was amazing… for an hour and a half, we all sat there listening to her in absolute awe. Robin’s passion, enthusiasm and knowledge on the topic at hand was moving to say the least. She deserves all the accolades that A People Smuggler is getting and it’s next on my reading list.

Hearing Robin speak and observing her passion, I have come to understand the people smuggling issue a whole lot more and am intent on paying more attention and really taking part in discussion over it. I’m so proud that Penguin is publishing these books and I’m going to buy them as Christmas presents for some of my family and friends. Kudos to all the authors, and please pass on my highest esteem to Robin especially.

—A. Sics, Penguin Sales Coordinator, December 2013

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