Upon taking his diploma in Italian, he worked in Rome for the US Catholic Immigration Office interviewing refugees from Eastern Europe.
Mr. O'Grady previously had short stories and articles published and a play of his staged in Melbourne when, in 1957, he started working as a journalist in Sydney.
While in Australia, became foreign editor and then literary editor of the renowned weekly magazine The Bulletin but, in 1962, for family reasons, returned to Rome.
Since that time, he has lived in Rome as a journalist and author of books.
Although a Catholic he had not written about religion in Australia but upon returning to Rome he saw the Vatican Council, which began in 1962 which presented itself as an important journalistic opportunity. He wrote about the Council for publications world-wide becoming also the first Vatican correspondent for the USA's National Catholic Reporter when it was founded.
Time (19 November 1965) described his coverage of the Council as “consistently discerning in conveying (its) moods and trends”.
He covered Vatican affairs for The National Catholic Reporter, The Washington Post, for Our Sunday Visitor and for the English Tablet. He has for his entire career also written about Italian affairs ranging from politics to culture and travel, mainly for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age and other publications (see Bibliography, below).
He has written 14 published books of fiction and non-fiction, including novels, collections of short stories, history and biography; many of these have been translated into various languages. Currently, Mr. O'Grady writes from Italy for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and The Age of Melbourne and other publications.