Madeleine’s writing career began at 18 as a music journalist writing for Australia's rock weekly, Juke magazine. She has worked professionally as a journalist, specialising in France, literature and immigration detention at World News Australia, SBS TV (Australia’s international, multilingual broadcaster) and as a documentary producer at Radio National, ABC, where she produced and presented programs on topics as diverse as Moroccan Islam/literature; Michel Houellebecq; Victor Hugo and of an imaginary visit by Borges to Melbourne in 1938.

Madeleine’s essays and reviews have appeared in Australia's major magazines, including the Griffith Review, Heat,  Meanjin and the Australian Book Review. For a number of years, she wrote an Australian literary news column for the New York journal, Antipodes.  In 1999, Madeleine won the inaugural national Quadrant fiction-reviewing prize for her writing on Herta Müller’s The Land of Green Plums, judged by poet Les Murray. In 2004, Madeleine received an OzProspect fellowship for new writers on public affairs.

While in Australia, Madeleine developed a reputation as a journalist working on immigration detention; not only through her regular articles and essays, but also via public lectures to academics/the general public. Madeleine helped found the country’s first citizen’s inquiry into Australia’s detention policy, the results of which were published as Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia (Scribe Publications, 2008: Winner of the Literature Non-Fiction Award of The Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Medals and Awards). Her article, “Black and Blue Justice” (Bulletin 2005) was the first to include photographic evidence of alleged assaults of immigration detainees by staff and police.  These photographs were included in Reportage – an annual festival dedicated to the year’s best international photojournalism).

In 2009 Madeleine was awarded an ASA/Australia Council Emerging Writer's Grant to fund her journalism on refugee/detention policy in the border countries of the European Union. She travelled to northern Greece and Malta to report on conditions of detention centres and when there interviewed asylum applicants; NGO and government representatives and police. 

In 2015, the US-based Hip Hop Forum digital magazine recruited Madeleine to write on international and US acts. During this time she has interviewed MC Sha-Rock (the first female MC of hip-hop culture and other artists from the US for the magazine). Madeleine worked as an editor at Hip Hop Forum digital magazine, where she instituted a writers' development program to nurture, train and support new Black American journalists. She was responsible for the management and training of the journalists, the commissioning of articles and provided input on the magazine's overall direction. 

Madeleine is currently developing a book-length work on Paris after the terrorist attacks - Zero Hour. It will be impressionistic in nature, a series of essays on interlocked themes - on race, identity, social mobility and immigration; the psychological dimensions of terrorism - but based on a solid foundation of reporting.  Her aim is to write a series of interconnected essays considering the nature of French (or more accurately Parisian) society from the perspective of a 'reluctant immigrant' someone who is an outsider, but privileged in many ways. Her long-term residence in Paris ensures that Madeleine understands what is driving the key debates in France about belonging and identity; her work will not be a memoir, but will necessarily be informed by her personal experiences in France.

Madeleine also aims to publish a series of essays on hip-hop in the future, which will include her extended interviews with Marco Polo, Black Milk and Paul White, her writing on 9os instrumentals, 'In a Melancholy Mood' and develop shorter pieces into more considered essays. Her goal is to continue writing extended interviews/essays (with a particular emphasis on contemporary producers, her main interest), while using literary/novelistic techniques to do so.

Her feature interview on BROOKZILL! (Prince Paul; Ladybug Mecca; Don Newkirk; Rodrigo Brandão) appeared in the US magazine, Ambrosia for Heads in late 2016; her articles for AFH can be found at her author's page at the website. She is now a regular contributor to Passion of the Weiss - see her author's page here -  and Okayplayer (US) and The Wire (UK).   

To contact Madeleine, please email: madeleinebyrne.writer@gmail.com 

Writing on music, literature and politics.