David Robertsauthor

Gregory David Roberts


Average rating



Gregory David Roberts (GDR) is an Australian artist, composer, songwriter, and author of Shantaram, its sequel, The Mountain Shadow, and The Spiritual Path.

Following the breakdown of his marriage and the loss of custody of his daughter, he turned to heroin to numb the pain and crime to feed his habit. In 1978, Roberts was sentenced to 19 years in prison for armed robbery (with a plastic weapon); he escaped and spent eight years in Bombay as a fugitive. Here he established a free medical clinic for slum-dwellers and worked as a counterfeiter and smuggler for a branch of the South Bombay mafia.

Recaptured and extradited to Australia, he served out his sentence, which included two years in solitary confinement as a punishment for his escape. The time in solitary was to become a turning point in his life. When released, Roberts completed writing Shantaram, and it was published in 2003 to critical acclaim. He returned to Mumbai, where he set up a personal initiative to assist the city's poor with lifesaving healthcare.

In the years that followed, he became an in-demand public speaker and philosopher and received thousands of messages from readers saying the book had been “life-changing.” Roberts went ‘off-grid’ in 2014 to look after his sick parents and pursue a spiritual path of devotion.

In 2019, he established a multimedia company, Empathy Arts, and the following year released his debut album Love&Faith, which was recorded at Geejam Studios in Jamaica. The same year saw the release of his first non-fiction book, The Spiritual Path.

Roberts’ life-affirming messages on social media, of taking personal responsibility, never giving up, living a purposeful life, and embracing our common humanity, have resonated with people across the world. In October 2022, the TV series Shantaram based on the book aired on AppleTV+. Roberts currently resides in Jamaica, where he continues to write, produce music and create art.

Best author’s book