Sian Powell has been a newspaper journalist for most of her working life, first as a staff reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald, then at The Australian, then at the Sydney Morning Herald as a foreign news editor and finally again at The Australian as a higher education and science writer.
She was The Australian’s Jakarta correspondent from 2003 to 2006 and in 2008 she left the paper to live abroad to work as a freelance journalist, before returning to Sydney and the Sydney Morning Herald.
From the Herald she moved to The Australian for the second time, and she is now again providing quality freelance work for major publications.
She has covered wars and conflicts, earthquakes and the Asia-Pacific tsunami, the Bali bombings in Indonesia, the insurrection in Aceh, the religious turmoil in Ambon and the red-shirt uprising in Thailand. She spent months in East Timor in 1999 when the East Timorese were struggling for independence and she tried to stay under the radar in military-dominated Burma.
Sian has interviewed presidents and prime ministers, artists and terrorists, fashion designers and chefs, poets and rebel leaders. She has dodged bullets, visited drug smugglers in prison, stayed with refugees in Kuala Lumpur and sampled fine food in fine restaurants.
In 2008 she moved to Bangkok to live and in 2012 to Hong Kong, returning to Australia in 2015. After another stint in Hong Kong, between 2019 and 2021, she finally moved back to Sydney for good. She can speak Indonesian (and Malay) and she can write almost anything: news, reviews and features, for magazines and newspapers, from fashion and high style to stories of violence and tragedy.