Full Name
Sue Brierley
Job Title
Adoptive Parent and Author, Lioness
Speaker Bio

The child of refugees from Hungary and Poland, Sue spent her early years living in an isolated environment on the northwest coast of Tasmania. After marrying, she and her husband John moved to Hobart. Sixteen years later they adopted Saroo followed by Mantosh.

The extraordinary untold story of Sue Brierley, mother of Saroo, the boy known as LION.

  • For the first time since the Oscar-nominated blockbuster movie, Sue Brierley reveals the full story of what happened before LION.

Sue Brierley grew up poor on the northwest coast of Tasmania, the daughter of a violent father and traumatised mother. One bitterly cold winter’s night she had a vision of a small child with brown skin coming towards her, gazing at her with love and happiness. Sue took it as a sign that one day this child would change her life. Many years later, Sue’s adopted son Saroo Brierley made international headlines when he located his long-lost biological family using Google Earth. His memoir was adapted into a blockbuster movie.

In Lioness Sue, who adopted Saroo in 1987, explores everything that happened in between, including:

  • Her violent and impoverished childhood as the daughter of WWII refugees, and how it shaped her view of motherhood and adoption.
  • The first time she experienced real love, meeting John Brierley (Saroo’s dad) at 17. Their values aligned in caring for those less fortunate and they made a choice to pursue adoption rather than to have biological children.
  • Sue and John's journey into overseas adoption - the uncertainty, the bureaucracy, difficulties and triumphs of the process. Sue describes how Saroo became part of their life and how he settled into an unfamiliar world.
  • Sue and John's rocky journey pursuing the adoption of their son, Mantosh, and how his traumatic background affected his ability to integrate into the family.
  • Saroo's discovery of the family he lost as a five-year-old, as covered in the movie LION, and how a parent feels when their adopted child finds his or her 'first' family. 
  • Sue meeting Saroo’s biological mother Fatima for the first time in front of film crews in India in 2013.
  • Attending the Oscars with the crew that filmed LION, and how Nicole Kidman and Sue formed a special bond as adoptive parents.

This beautiful story of a family in all its forms is a touching portrait of love and reunion that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.


Sue Brierley