Carmen Callil was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia, and came to the UK in 1960. She began working in publishing five years later and in 1972 founded the Virago Press, which she continued to chair until 1995. Her first book, Bad Faith: A History of Family and Fatherland, was published by Vintage in 2007. It was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
Carmen's most recent book is Oh Happy Day, a story about the life and times of her ancestors from England, Ireland and Lebanon, and their emigration to Australia in the mid-nineteenth century.