Calidris Literary Agency

Simon Smith

Simon Smith arrived in his family later than the others, when his mother and her aunts had time to tell the stories. Of the past, of the ancestors, of the spirits. He listened and remembered.

Later in life, he graduated from the Australian Film and TV School, and applied the skills of cinematography he had learned there, to shooting documentaries. His career took him all over the world. From Cambodia, in the first years of freedom from Pol Pot, to France billeted with the Foreign Legion. From a primitive village in Vanuatu, to the rehearsal room of an Ibsen play in Brooklyn.

In Australia, he had opportunities to spend time in remote First Nations’ communities, where the people he met had nothing, but had everything. Each film he worked on gave him a chance to get to know people from every walk of life, deeply. Everywhere he went, he just rolled his camera, and people told their stories. It was like magic.

Now, after almost 40 years as a cinematographer, Simon has taken a new path, led by the compelling tale of his ancestor, an Irish patriot, who was executed in Sydney in 1868. This story, told in brief form to him as a child, re-emerged in his life in powerful ways, recently.

After six years of intensive research, the result is a compelling historical novel that explores the life and times of Australia’s first would-be political assassin, Henry James O’Farrell. Entitled A Man of Honour, it is published by Echo Publishing and is available at all good bookshops.

Simon lives with his partner Ron, and their beloved cat Danny Boy on the same land his ancestor Henry James O’Farrell was incarcerated, tried and executed: Darlinghurst, in Sydney. The land of the Gadigal.