Q & A with Caroline Baum

Q & A with Caroline Baum
Authors at the National Library
28 March 2017

Caroline Baum has created a career around books and reading, so it’s difficult to believe that Only: A Singular Memoir is her first book. Caroline has worked for the BBC, ABC, Time Life Books, Vogue Australia and UK. She was the founding editor of Good Reading magazine and the Editorial Director of Booktopia. She is in demand as a presenter at writers’ festivals across Australia and has interviewed many of the world's most celebrated authors. Caroline has also been a judge of the Stella Prize, and the Ned Kelly and Kibble Awards.Since 2015, Caroline has been  one of the Library’s oral history interviewers, interviewing Clive James and Di Morrissey, amongst others.She writes about books, food, travel, the arts and aspects of contemporary life, regularly contributing to national media.


Image courtesy Wendy McDougall

On Thursday 30 March, Caroline will discuss her memoir, Only, childhood and families with Nikki Anderson. We caught up with Caroline ahead of her visit to ask her about life, writing and what she loves about libraries.

What are you reading right now?

After by Nikki Gemmell.

Cover of After by Nikki Gemmell

How would you describe your latest book?

An honest exploration of what it means to be an only child and what it takes to be a good daughter.

What was the hardest part of writing your latest book?

Writing sad stuff about my parents’ traumatic childhoods and my father’s sudden, brutal decline.

What are you working on now?

A biography of Lucie Dreyfus, the wife of Alfred Dreyfus, the military officer at the  heart of France’s biggest political scandal  in the 1900s. I won the Hazel Rowley Fellowship in 2015 and thanks to that I had the chance to  go to Paris to do vital research.


Lucie Dreyfus (detail) from Alfred Dreyfus and his wife Lucie in 1910, after his rehabilitation.

What do you love about libraries?

SILENCE and coming across gems through random browsing of shelves.

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