John Baxter is an Australian-born writer, journalist, and filmmaker. Baxter wrote many works dealing with movies, including biographies of film personalities, including Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, George Lucas, and Robert De Niro.
Some of his books have been translated into various languages, including Japanese and Chinese.
John Baxter was born in Sydney, Australia, but raised in a small country town called Junee. Immersed in a world of cinema, he ardently frequented the movies, absorbing a profound understanding of Hollywood's finest works. Simultaneously, he delved into science fiction, crafting his own stories.
He began writing science fiction in the early 1960s for New Worlds, Science Fantasy, and other British magazines. His first novel, though serialized in New Worlds as The God Killers, was published as a book in the US as The Off-Worlders in 1966.
He also edited the first-ever anthologies of Australian science fiction and wrote the first history of Australian cinema.
In the sixties, John Baxter was active in the Sydney Film Festival. During the 1980s, he served in a consulting capacity on several film-funding bodies, as well as writing film criticism for The Australian and other periodicals.
In 1969, he came to Europe, settled in London, and began writing books on the cinema, including a biography of the director Ken Russell, studies of John Ford, Josef von Sternberg, and the gangster and science fiction film genres, and working as an arts journalist for various magazines, and for BBC radio. He also served on the juries of European film festivals.
In 1974 he was invited to become a visiting professor at Hollins College in Virginia, USA, where he remained for two years. While in America, he collaborated with Thomas Atkins on The Fire Came By; The Great Siberian Explosion of 1908, and wrote a study of director King Vidor. He also published two novels, The Hermes Fall and Bidding.
He has written several short stories and novels in that genre and a book about SF in the movies, editing collections of Australian science fiction.
He has written several documentaries, including a survey of the life and work of the painter Fernando Botero. He also co-produced, wrote, and presented three television series for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Filmstruck, First Take, and The Cutting Room, and was co-editor of the ABC book program Books And Writing. In the 1960s, he was a WEA Film Study Group member with such notable people as Ian Klava, Frank Moorhouse, Michael Thornhill, John Flaus, and Ken Quinnell.
Baxter has lived in Britain, the United States, and his native Sydney but has made his home in Paris since 1989, where he is married to the filmmaker Marie-Dominique Montel.
Since 2007, John Baxter has been co-director of the annual Paris Writers Workshop.
Photo credit: www.johnbaxterparis.com