Interview // Antonella Gambotto-Burke

What is one of your most stand-out (either good or bad) memories from your writing career?

Receiving my first cheque from the Sydney Morning Herald when I was 15. I was screaming with joy. Fifty dollars! A fortune! (I think they still pay writers the same amount.) 

Completing the text for Apple: Sex, Drugs, Motherhood and the Recovery of the Feminine. So much work and thought went into the book – it’s just enormous, so the exhilaration was real. 

Selling the first long, serious poem I wrote since school a couple of weeks ago: A Call to Light. I was incandescent, dancing around the house. 

Being offered a weekly column in the books pages of the Weekend Australian. I’m working for investigative journalist and author Caroline Overington, which is in itself a thrill as I have adored her for years. I love the reading, the thinking, the writing – it’s all just so much fun. You can find some, but not all, of my pieces here. 

– from Holly-Beth Quinn’s interview with me for Fashion Industry Broadcast, published here.

Photograph by Quentin Bacon taken at The Colour Factory, Manhattan

Alex Burke, Gail Pemberton + Family vs. Antonella Gambotto-Burke //

 What follows is the letter dated April 27, 2021, that my ex-husband, on behalf of himself and his mother, the high-profile multimillionaire investment banker Gail Pemberton (aka Gail Burke, Gail Pemberton-Burke and Gail Maria Pemberton), formerly of Macquarie Bank, CIO of the Decade and recipient of the Order of Australia, her brother, the historian Gregory Pemberton, her sister, politics lecturer and author JoAnne Pemberton, and her other son, the London-based financier Christian Pemberton, instructed his lawyer, Mr Warren Krass, to write to me.

A significantly longer letter, surprisingly including the full confidential terms of the Undertaking itself, was emailed to the publisher Pinter & Martin London of my upcoming book, Apple: Sex, Drugs, Motherhood and the Recovery of the Feminine, on April 14, 2021.

It seems the Pemberton family must be concerned that I may have written about them in my book. Why should they think this? Can it be because the words “sex” and “drugs” are in the book title?

In fact I do not mention any of them.

The allegedly “vile, false and defamatory” slurs to which Mr Krass refers in his letter to my publisher were contained in an email I forwarded to certain members of the media and financial community in 2018.

Mr Krass now warns me in terms:  “We give you notice that you must provide a copy of your undertaking to the Court to any potential publisher of your material”.

Precisely in order to honour his demand, I herewith openly and publicly alert all possible publishers of my writings now or in the future to his letter.

As I elected to sign an Undertaking (with no admission of wrongdoing) to the British Court in 2018 to end a long series of legal onslaughts by the Pembertons, I cannot tell my side of the story fully, but can say only this in my own defence:

Over the many years of the Pemberton family’s legal onslaughts upon me, but also indirectly, upon my daughter Bethesda, no charges have ever been brought against me, no costs orders were made against me, and my ex-husband lost his previously unrestricted access to Bethesda, on certain grounds that I am not at liberty to disclose.

I was awarded Sole Parental Responsibility for Bethesda.

Because of the Pembertons, I was forced at different times to go to the Ballina Court (NSW), the Australian Federal Circuit Court (Brisbane), the London Central Family Court, and the CSA Tribunal (Sydney), all for different aspects of the case. I even saw the Police on numerous occasions.

As regards the interim non-molestation order – in Australia, an AVO – which Mr Krass cites in his letter to my publisher: when the Pemberton family attempted to have me arrested in 2018 on grounds of harassment (for publishing the allegedly “vile, false and defamatory” slurs), I was found by the London Metropolitan Police to have committed no offence thereby.

Mr Krass fails to mention these and other points in his letter.

I trust Mr Krass will now concede that I have complied fully and openly with his demand.


Antonella Gambotto-Burke

Weekly column in the literary pages //

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been offered a weekly column in the literary section of the Weekend Australian, sister paper to the Sunday Times. My first piece, running at almost 1500 words, will be published on May 1.

I was first published in the Australian when I was eighteen, and have been contributing to the paper ever since, so this is really the most wonderful thing.

Below, the illustration that will accompany my byline. They’ve given me a tan – in actuality, I’m as pale as a shroud – but otherwise, it’s relatively accurate.

More to announce, if not just yet x