The Toughest Assignment

Moderator: Karen Middleton • Kylie Moore-Gilbert, John Lyons and Andrew Quilty

2.00 PM – 3.00 PM
Kambri Cultural Centre (ANU)

From Kabul to Tehran via the conflict in the Middle East, how does one survive the harrowing risks that come from reporting from the frontline?



Kylie Moore-Gilbert is a scholar of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Kylie speaks several Middle Eastern languages and has spent significant periods travelling and conducting academic research in the region. She was falsely charged with espionage and imprisoned in Iran from September 2018 to November 2020 before being released in a prisoner exchange deal negotiated by the Australian government. This is the subject of her book, The Uncaged Sky: My 804 Days in an Iranian Prison.



John Lyons is one of Australia’s most experienced journalists and foreign correspondents. He is currently Head of Investigative Journalism at the ABC and was recently appointed ABC News Global Affairs Editor. Over the past 40 years, he has held leadership positions in several major organisations, including editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and executive producer of Nine’s Sunday program. For six years, John was The Australian’s Middle East correspondent, based in Jerusalem, an experience that led him to write the bestselling Balcony over Jerusalem.



Andrew is the recipient of nine Walkley Awards, including the Gold Walkley, for his work on Afghanistan, where he has been based since 2013. He has also received the George Polk Award, the World Press Photo Award and the Overseas Press Club of America award for his investigation into massacres committed by a CIA- backed Afghan militia. August in Kabul is his first book.



Karen Middleton is chief political correspondent for The Saturday Paper and author of two books, An Unwinnable War: Australia in Afghanistan and Albanese: Telling it Straight. Karen has worked in the Canberra press gallery since 1989 and served as its president for four years. An experienced television, radio and newspaper commentator, she appears regularly on the ABC’s Insiders and Network Ten’s The Project. She is a freelance contributor to ABC radio, Monocle 24 Radio UK and Radio New Zealand and is based in Canberra.