Carmen Callil was born in Australia but has spent most of her career in the United Kingdom. She founded Virago Press in 1973 and in 1982 became managing director of Chatto & Windus. Her first book, Bad Faith- A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award.
An extraordinary reclamation of lives usually lost to history... A model of how to construct a compelling narrative from patchy material... Other writers, from Dickens onwards, have exposed these hardships: few have done so with the rigour and bitter irony that Callil employs. -- Nicholas Clee * BookBrunch * An absorbing account of empire, migration, the poverty of injustice and enduring love... The book bristles with Callil's righteous anger at the injustices meted out to her forbears, and at the parallels for our own times. -- Caroline Sanderson * The Bookseller * Powerfully told... [Oh Happy Day is] an impressive work, shining merciless beams of light on murky specifics of the early 1800s... She's such a forceful writer. -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham * The Times * Oh Happy Day is a phenomenal achievement... The book covers great swathes of history, giving us an insight into the Luddites, the Chartists, the nonconformist churches, the journeys to the Antipodes, the white Australia policy and the stealing of land from the Aborigines: all the political events that were unfolding as her ancestors forged their way in the world... These are intriguing stories. -- Dani Garavelli * Herald Scotland *