The Crime of not Knowing your Crime: Ric Throssell against ASIO


The launch will be online (zoom and FB livestream) on Thursday 29 July at 6 pm. The book will be launched by Jeff Sparrow and Karen will talk about the book and read excerpts.

The event is free but please register using the link at

For more information go to the FB event

My grandmother was one of Australia’s greatest novelists, my grandfather won the Victoria Cross for gallantry and my father was hounded all his life as a spy.

This is a three generational story. It’s about my life; it’s about my father, Ric; it’s about my grandparents, the writer Katharine Susannah Prichard and the war hero Hugo Throssell. 

It’s a study of the psychology of spies and those obsess about them, a narrative of guilt and innocence told through poetry, prose and historical documents.

It’s a tale from another time – but one with obvious relevance, given how regularly governments rely on fear and scapegoating today.

Let me tell you what was done to my family.

“Through entwined poetry and prose, Karen Throssell illuminates ASIO’s persecution of her extraordinary family. In the post 9/11 era, too many Australians have forgotten what happened in the Cold War. That’s why this story matters”.

Jeff Sparrow, writer and broadcaster

Karen Throssell is an award-winning writer and poet, with five poetry collections and a book of creative non-fiction The Pursuit Of Happiness (1988). She has also published in journals and anthologies including Overland, Westerly, Meanjin, Quadrant, Hecate and Artstreams. Karen was shortlisted for the 2017 Book of the Year Award – Poetry (Society  of Australian Women Writers) and an earlier version of The Crime of not knowing your Crime  was shortlisted in 2017 for the Dorothy Hewett award for works of creative non-fiction. Her work reflects her commitment to radical politics, literature and feminism.

Phil Deery

For people who don’t use FB, you can register at Eventbrite directly at

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Copies of the book will be sale at a discount price of $40 during the event (RRP $45).

This event is co-sponsored by Interventions, The New International Bookshop and Search Foundation. For more information contact

Interventions is Australia’s only independent, not-for-profit, radical book publisher. Check out our website at If you would like to know more about us, have a book proposal for us, or would like to get involved please email

Author: Karen Throssell

With a contextual essay by Phil Deery

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Phillip Deery is a Cold War historian. His books include Red Apple: Communism and McCarthyism in Cold War New York (2014), The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents  (2017) and Sparrows and Spies: ASIO and the Cold War in Australia, 1949-1975 (2022). He is an Emeritus Professor of History at Victoria University.

The book is available from NIBS, your local bookshop or any online bookstore.

If you would like to review the book please contact

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