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Liz Porter


Liz Porter is a freelance journalist best-known for her prize-winning books about  “the real CSI”  – the way forensic science is used to solve crime. Based in Melbourne, she is a former award-winning legal affairs reporter for The Sunday Age.

Her first forensic science book, Written on the Skin: an Australian forensic casebook, was joint winner of the Australian Crime Writers Association’s Ned Kelly award for the best true crime book of 2007. Her next one, Cold Case Files: past crimes solved by new forensic science, won Sisters in Crime’s 2012 Davitt award for best true crime book.  Her third forensic science book, Crime Scene Asia: when forensic evidence becomes the silent witness was published in November 2017. Her first novel, Unnatural Order, was published in 1995. Set in Germany, where she lived and worked as a freelance journalist in the late 1980s, it was republished as an e-book in 2016. Liz is a year-round sea swimmer at Melbourne’s Middle Brighton sea baths, a chorister in a classical music choir and a pop music choir, and is a tragically devoted fan of the AFL football club, St Kilda.

Liz Porter gives entertaining talks that reveal the realities behind the fiction of shows such as CSI – how real life detectives and forensic investigators use forensic science to solve crimes. She also talks about how the true crime writer chooses her material very selectively – because most real-life crimes are too banal to make good material.

Where were you born?


What other jobs have you had?

Waitressing while I was a student, a journalist in Melbourne, Hong Kong, London and Stuttgart, a bar girl in Hong Kong (a job I took for three weeks just so I could write about it and launch my career as a journalist – it worked).

What themes are recurring in your work?

The legal system, crime, forensics. My two books are case books (the first has 55 cases, the second has 20) and I explain how different forensic science specialities have been used to solve crimes and mysteries in Australia, the UK and the US.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Winning the Victoria Law Foundation Law Reporter of the Year award in 2001 and 2011. Being the joint winner of the 2007 Ned Kelly award for Best True Crime book for Written on the Skin. Winning the 2012 Sisters in Crime Davitt award for Best True Crime Book for Cold Case Files. Being shortlisted for the 2012 Ned Kelly award for Best True Crime Book for Cold Case Files.

What are you passionate about?

Open water swimming, singing in classical music and opera choirs, Australian Rules Football in general and the St Kilda football club in particular.

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