Mark Colvin one of Australia's longest-serving broadcasters, as a reporter for more than two decades and the national radio evening institution he has become as host of PM since 1997. He reveals what it was like to discover his diplomat father was really an M16 spy, and the reality of covering some of the most dangerous flashpoints of recent history: Tehran during the hostage crisis, the end of the Cold War, Iraq in the buildup to the First Gulf War and Rwanda in the direct aftermath of one of the worst massacres of the century. It was in Rwanda that Colvin contracted a life-threatening disease that put him in hospital for six months, often close to death. He recovered and began as host of PM. However the slow deterioration of his kidneys in 2010 saw him undertake three punishing years of dialysis while he continuing to broadcast daily. In a remarkable twist of fate, an Australian he met as a contact decided to give him a kidney in 2013.
In the Light and the Shadow is the story of how someone dedicated to reporting on the world first hand continued to try to do so by proxy when he was no longer able to:through the eyes of friends and fellow-correspondents, through reading and study, and more recently by putting himself at the forefront of the use of social media in journalism.
Mark Colvin joined the ABC as a cadet journalist. He then spent three years as a founding member of Australia's first youth station, 2JJ (now Triple-J), before a two-year stint as a news producer and current affairs reporter. He was London and European correspondent for the ABC for most of the 80s and 90s before joining Four Corners for five years before returning to London. He returned to Australia as presenter of PM in 1997, a job he has continued to do despite three years on dialysis and a successful kidney transplant. Since 2009, he has gradually built himself as one of the best-known journalistic names on Twitter, which he uses as a conversation, a way to find and double-check stories, and a source of amusement.