The Ethics of Biography

Tom Bower, Michael Freedland, Anne Sebba

10/03/2005 10:15 am
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Biography is one of the great literary growth areas, reaching a huge number of readers. But how do authors deal with the scandals, rivalries, secrets and lies they may come across in the course of their work? Is it a question of publish and be damned? Or should the subject’s privacy always be respected?

Tom Bower is the country’s bestselling biographer of contemporary public figures, renowned for his no-holds-barred approach. Michael Freedland has published several authorised biographies alongside many others, often on showbiz subjects, while Anne Sebba’s subjects are usually literary or historical personalities. Together with Tom Sutcliffe they discussed the experience of writing in this most fascinating of genres.

Tom Bower


Tom Bower is an acclaimed investigative journalist and best-selling biographer, author of 24 books including Nazi Gold, and the lives of Robert Maxwell, Richard Branson, Tony Blair, Prince Charles and Jeremy Corbyn.

Michael Goldfarb

Michael Goldfarb covers conflicts for The New York Times and The Guardian, among other publications. He is author of Emancipation: How Liberating Europe\'s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance.

Anne Sebba


Anne Sebba is a biographer, lecturer, radio presenter and former Reuters' foreign correspondent. She has written nine critically acclaimed books, most recently Les Parisiennes.

Tom Sutcliffe