May 15 • 34M

S1E93: Peter FitzSimons

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'Out of the Question with Adam Zwar' features in-depth interviews with the most interesting and accomplished people in entertainment, politics and sport. It's an update on the original '10 Questions with Adam Zwar'
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It was quite an emotional day when I interviewed this week’s guest, the former rugby international turned best-selling author, Peter FitzSimons. Because it was the day after my father died. I’ve written about my Dad, Desmond Zwar, a lot on social media. He was the author of 20 non fiction books, including The Loneliest Man In the World about Rudolf Hess, In Search of Sir Keith Murdoch, This Wonderful World of Golf, where he went on the golf tour with Peter Thomson, and the runaway best seller, Golf: The Dictionary with illustrations by the great Jeff Hook. Dad, an avid reader, was in a nursing home towards the end of his life, so I ran his Kindle account. Whenever he wanted to read another book, I would buy it and sync it into his Kindle. And the last book I bought Dad, and the last book he read, was Peter FitzSimon’s biography of Ned Kelly. So it was strangely appropriate that the day after Dad’s passing, I was interviewing Peter. I didn’t tell him the situation. I didn’t want to make him feel weird. But the coincidence was not lost on me.

Some would know Peter from his seven rugby tests with the Wallabies as a lock forward from 1989 to 1990. Others would know him from his columns in the Sydney Morning Herald. But most would have read, or at least threatened to read, one of his 27 books – many of which have become best sellers. There have been the rugby books, which we’ll talk about later, joke books, a book on Nietzsche, historical biographies on Nancy Wake, Kim Beasley, Douglas Mawson, Kingsford Smith, Breaker Morant, and James Cook, and then there have been the books on big subjects like Gallipoli, Kokoda, the Batavia and the Eureka Stockade. And now he’s written The Opera House :The extraordinary story of the building that symbolises Australia. 

In this interview, we get into the guts of how Peter came to be a writer, the word he most overuses in his books, and how he gave up the grog and managed to fit even more into his day.