Charles Osborne studied music in Brisbane and Melbourne and worked as a music and literary journalist as well as an actor. After moving to England in 1953, he became the assistant editor of London Magazine from 1958 to 1966, and was the literature director of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1971 to 1986. He has published many books and biographies in the fields of literature and music, including a biography of W. H. Auden, whom he met during the 1960s, and many critical guides to opera and classical music. Osborne has also written several novelised versions of plays by Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde and Agatha Christie (on whom he has also written a biography), which have been widely translated, and has edited short story and poetry anthologies. He has also contributed poetry to anthologies and journals.