Jill Stark is an award-winning journalist, author, mental health advocate, and media strategist.

A natural-born storyteller, Jill is fascinated by the complexity of the human experience and has a unique ability to bring the issues that matter to life.

Jill’s career in the media spans 20 years, with a decade on staff at The Age covering health and social affairs as a campaigning senior writer and columnist. Prior to that, she cut her teeth in newsrooms in Scotland, where she grew up.

Jill’s latest book, When You’re Not OK: A Toolkit For Tough Times, is a self-care manual for the days when you feel alone, broken or too weird to be normal. With compassion, humour and honesty Jill offers signposts to help you find the path back to yourself.

Her previous book, Happy Never After: Why the Happiness Fairytale is Driving Us Mad (And How I Flipped the Script), is a forensic examination of our age of anxiety and the relentless pursuit of happiness. In it, she explores why in a western world with more opportunity, choice and wealth than ever before, so many of us are struggling to find calm and contentment.

Jill’s first book, the best-selling debut memoir, High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze, investigated Australia and Scotland’s binge drinking culture and was short-listed in the Kibble Literary Awards and long-listed in the Walkley Book of the Year Awards.

Jill is also a sought after media consultant, bringing her journalistic eye to an organisation’s brand, transforming its public image and helping to tell powerful, thought-provoking stories that leave a lasting impression.

She is a coveted public speaker, working as a host with The School of Life, and delivering keynote addresses in the corporate, academic and not-for-profit sectors.

As a freelance writer, Jill’s work appears in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, ABC Online, SBS Life and SBS Sexuality.

She is also a respected radio commentator, having co-hosted The Conversation Hour with Jon Faine on ABC Melbourne and making regular appearances on JOY 94.9 and Triple RRR. Her television appearances include The Project, Sunrise and ABC 24.


High Sobriety was short-listed for the Dobbie Award at the 21st Kibble and Dobbie Literary Awards in 2014.

Jill was named Straight Ally of the Year in 2014 at the GLOBE Community Awards for her groundbreaking reporting on LGBTIQ issues.

High Sobriety was a finalist in the 2013 Walkey Book of the Year Award

Jill won the Victorian Sport Awards Media Award in 2012 for her reporting on homophobia in the AFL and other sports.

Jill won the Excellence in Media Reporting Award at the National Drug and Alcohol Awards in 2008 and 2011 for her extensive reporting on Australia's binge drinking crisis.


Anxiety, depression and the 'fairytale filter'

ABC Radio National, Big Ideas, 10 September 2018
Jill Stark was wracked by paralysing anxiety and serious depression. She hit rock bottom, her mental health crisis flaring up in the aftermath of a personal triumph: the success of her debut book. She talks to Paul Barclay about the myth of happiness, what her personal struggles have taught her, and the hard - but rewarding - road she’s travelled, rebuilding her life, and her health.

Why the happiness fairytale is driving us mad

The Daily Edition, Channel Seven, 7 August 2018
Author Jill Stark explains why the 'happiness fairytale' is driving us mad, and how our obsession with happiness is making us more miserable than ever.

Anxiety Explained: With Jill Stark

Better Reading Podcast, 6 August 2018
This week Cheryl is joined by Jill Stark to discuss her latest novel Happy Never After – a raw, uplifting exploration of our age of anxiety. Together they talk about Jill’s own experiences with anxiety, what triggered her breakdown, and how she has learnt to manage her illness by shifting her perspective of what it means to be truly ‘happy’.

Getting Happy

ABC Melbourne, 01 August 2018
Jill Stark joins Ali Moore and co-host Deborah Conway with filmmaker Zanny Begg for the Conversation Hour

Happy Never After

Triple R, 1 August 2018
Happiness is the moving target that most of us spend our lives trying to hit. Author and journalist Jill Stark’s recent book, Happy Never After: Why the happiness fairy-tale is driving us mad, explores how our efforts to strike the illusive state of elation can end up doing more harm than good.

When having it all just isn't enough

ABC Radio National, Life Matters, 30 July 2018
Eighteen months after Jill Stark’s book on giving up booze had become a best-seller, she thought she had it all. From the outside, her life looked like it was all fancy book parties, career successes, hot dates and the perfect work/life balance.
Actually, her days were filled with panic attacks, heavy drinking, and the struggle to get out of bed. How could the gap between what success was meant to look like and what it did look like be so huge?

Our amazing brains

ABC Radio Melbourne, 27 May 2015
Jill co-hosts the Conversation Hour with Jon Faine on ABC Melbourne, with guest Dr Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself and the Brain's Way of Healing

A year off the grog

ABC Radio National, Big Ideas, 23 December 2013
Jill Stark is an award winning health journalist. She was a big drinker over 20 years, then she gave up the booze for a year. It wasn’t easy but it was a personal revelation. She talks with Paul Barclay about what sobriety taught her

Is there a rising ruling class in Australia? And how do we live a good life?

ABC Radio Melbourne, 8 May 2013
Author and senior journalist Jill Stark is Jon Faine's co-host, with guests, Nick Cater, senior editor at The Australian and social researcher, writer and commentator Hugh MacKay.

Journalist Jill Stark addresses problem drinking in the most personal way

ABC Local, Conversations with Richard Fidler, 21 February 2013
Jill Stark has won awards for her work on stories about health, public policy and alcohol and drug issues.

One morning, Jill woke up with a terrible hangover which led her to wonder: was she one of those binge drinkers she had written so much about?

Getting off the grog

ABC Melbourne, 15 February 2013
Tim Rogers is Jon Faine's co-host on The Conversation Hour, chatting to Jill Stark, author of High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze, and Professor Rob Moodie from the University of Melbourne's School of Public Health.

Hire Jill

If you’d like to hire Jill to run a workshop, speak at your event or provide media services for your organisation, please get in touch for a quote.