Michael Lawriwsky was born in Barmera, South Australia in 1952 of Ukrainian refugees who had fled through the Iron Curtain in 1946-48 and arrived in Australia in 1949. He grew up in Adelaide, attended Woodville High School, Rostrevor College and the University of Adelaide, where he was awarded a PhD in economics.
He moved to Melbourne in 1978 and was appointed Professor of Commerce at La Trobe University in 1988. He resigned in the early 1990s to become a director-corporate finance at ANZ Securities and ANZ Investment Bank, and subsequently a director of the Allen Consulting Group. A past part-time Commissioner of the International Air Services Commission, he is an adjunct professor in the School of Business at La Trobe University.
Having previously published books on economics and finance, 'Hard Jacka' is his first novel. His interest in Albert Jacka began when he read about him in Les Carlyon’s ‘Gallipoli’ during a flight to Papua New Guinea in 2001.