Debra Jopson completed the first draft of Oliver of the Levant while participating in the first Faber Academy novel writing course held in Australia in 2011. Born in Sydney, she spent part of her childhood in Beirut and continued to visit her family there during the first rounds of the 1970s Lebanese civil war. She has worked as a journalist for major media outlets over four decades, most recently at The Sydney Morning Herald, where she specialised in Aboriginal affairs and major investigations, winning a Walkley award and numerous Human Rights Commission honours. Over the past three years she has devoted herself to writing fiction and long-form journalism, contributing to The Global Mail, The Saturday Paper, Good Weekend, ABCTV's Four Corners and SBS. In 2014, she became the Walkley Awards Freelance Journalist of the Year.