John Fingleton was born in Brisbane in 1943. A champion swimmer, he won twelve medals at national swimming and surf lifesaving championships in the early 1960s. The film Swimming Upstream, written and co-produced by his brother, Tony, and starring Geoffrey Rush as his father Harold, became the impetus for Surviving Maggie, his first book. John lives in Chipping Norton, Sydney. His brother Tony is now a successful screenwriter in the US and his sister Helen is a former Queensland Magistrates Court judge and author.