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Robin de Crespigny

Author of 'The People Smuggler' and Winner of the 25th Human Rights Award for Literature
Robin de Crespigny

Robin de Crespigny is a Sydney film-maker, producer, director, writer and a former Directing Lecturer at the Australian Film, Television & Radio School. She graduated from Melbourne’s La Trobe University with an Arts degree in Literature, where she joined the protests against the Vietnam War before travelling extensively throughout Asia, Mexico and America.

While living in New York Robin discovered a deep passion for film-making, so returned to Australia to study at Swinburne Film School, where she wrote and directed her first short film, Letting Go. Robin’s subsequent work includes the TV drama This Time Next Time (1990), Sanctuary (screenplay by David Williamson), and the script Intersection, which was nominated in the 2007 Inside Film Awards. In 2008 her short children’s film Wee Dreaming screened nationally as part of Little Big Shots and around the world in other international film festivals.

That same year Robin began work on a film script about the life of Ali Al Jenabi, an Iraqi refugee who became a people smuggler to get his family to safety. After six months of wrestling with the epic breadth of his journey she realised a book would serve this story better. Thus began three years of meticulous research, extensive travel to retrace Ali’s steps and hundreds of hours of conversation.

In The People Smuggler Robin has born honest witness to a lifetime of extraordinary events while revealing the universal emotions and internal processes at the heart of the life changing moral choices Ali made as he strived to save so many others. In 2012 she was awarded the 25th Human Rights Award for Literature for this story. 

Robin lives in Sydney with her husband, composer Christopher Gordon. Aside from film-making she has 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 winebar and music joint, The Limerick Castle.