Sheila Fitzpatrick gained a PhD from Oxford University in 1969. She has been Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Russian History at the University of Chicago and an annual Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney. Fitzpatrick has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a past President of the American Association for Slavic and East European Studies.
In 2016, her On Stalin's Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics won the Prime Minister's Literary Award (Non-fiction).
'In 1968 historian Sheila Fitzpatrick was outed by the Russian newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya as all but a spy for Western intelligence. She was in Moscow at the time, working in Soviet archives for her doctoral thesis on AV Lunacharsky, the first Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Despite KGB attention, and the impossibility of finding a suitable winter coat, Sheila felt more at ease in Moscow than in Britain—a feeling cemented by her friendships with Lunacharsky's daughter, Irina, and brother-in-law, Igor, a reform-minded old Bolshevik who became a surrogate father and a intellectual mentor. An affair with young Communist activist, Sasha, pulled her further into a world in which she already felt at home. For the Soviet authorities and archives, however, she would always be marked as a foreigner, and so potentially a spy.
Punctuated by letters to her mother in Melbourne and her diary entries of the time, and borne along by Fitzpatrick's wry, insightful narrative, A Spy in the Archives captures the life and times of Cold War Russia. ' (Publisher's blurb)
'How does a daughter tell the story of her father?
Sheila Fitzpatrick was taught from an early age to question authority. She learnt it from her father, the journalist and radical historian Brian Fitzpatrick. But very soon, she began to turn her questioning gaze on him.
Teasing apart the many layers of memory, Fitzpatrick reveals a complex portrait of an Australian family against a Cold War backdrop. As her relationship with her father fades from girlhood adoration to adolescent scepticism, she flees Melbourne for Oxford to start a new life. But it's not so easy to escape being her father's daughter.
My Father's Daughter is a vivid evocation of an Australian childhood; a personal memoir told with the piercing insight of a historian.' (From the publisher's website.)