Books and Ideas at Montalto
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Tony Jones is best known as the host of ABC TV’s tightly controlled, agenda-setting and sometimes combative political panel programme, Q&A. Having presented the programme for almost ten years, Jones has learned a few things about tension, intrigue, complex plots and surprise attacks.
Those years of experience – not to mention the preceding decades as an ABC investigative reporter and foreign correspondent – have prepared Jones perfectly for his latest incarnation as a thriller writer. His debut novel, The Twentieth Man, tells an electrifying tale of crime, terror and international conspiracy and is set between the corridors of power in 1970s Canberra and the harsh mountain ranges of former Yugoslavia. Jones has a long-standing interest in the Balkans, having covered the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s during his stint as the ABC’s Europe correspondent.
In conversation with Jason Steger at Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, this veteran of Australian journalism discusses his foray into fiction and the experiences in Australia and overseas that have inspired it.
Tony Jones was still at school when Lionel Murphy raided ASIO. After an ABC cadetship, he joined the television program Four Corners as a reporter in 1985, and then went to Dateline at SBS in 1986. He was subsequently an ABC foreign correspondent, for a time in London and later in Washington. Inter alia, he covered the war crimes in Bosnia. For many years he presented the ABC TV current affairs programme Lateline.
Today, he hosts Q&A on ABC TV on Monday nights. He is married to fellow ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson and lives in Sydney. The Twentieth Man is his first novel.
Jason Steger is books editor at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
He was a regular panelist on ABC TV's The Book Club.