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Peter Carey

Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943.

He claims his birthplace of Bacchus Marsh had a population of 4,000. This fact should probably be checked.

He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School. He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 — after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arrived.

In 1961 he studied science for a single unsuccessful year at Monash University. He was then employed by an advertising agency where he began to receive his literary education, meeting Faulkner, Joyce, Kerouac and other writers he had previously been unaware of. He was nineteen.

For the next thirteen years he wrote fiction at night and weekends, working in many advertising agencies in Melbourne, London and Sydney.

After four novels had been written and rejected The Fat Man in History — a short story collection — was published in 1974. This slim book made him an overnight success.

From 1976 Carey worked one week a month for Grey Advertising, then, in 1981 he established a small business where his generous partner required him to work only two afternoons a week. Thus between 1976 and 1990, he was able to pursue literature obsessively. It was during this period that he wrote War CrimesBliss, IllywhackerOscar and LucindaIllywhacker was short listed for the Booker Prize. Oscar and Lucinda won it. Uncomfortable with this success he began work on The Tax Inspector.

In 1990 he moved to New York where he completed The Tax Inspector. He taught at NYU one night a week. Later he would have similar jobs at Princeton, The New School and Barnard College. During these years he wrote The Unusual Life of Tristan SmithJack Maggs, and True History of the Kelly Gang for which he won his second Booker Prize.

In 2003 he joined Hunter College as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing.  Since then he has published five novels: My Life as a FakeTheftHis Illegal Self, The Chemistry of Tears, and Parrot and Olivier in America (which was a finalist for both the U.S National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize.)

He is at work on a new novel.

Biography
1943
Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Australia.
1961
Carey studied science for one year at Monash University and then worked at advertising agencies in Melbourne, London and Sydney, writing fiction at night and on weekends.
1974
The Fat Man in History, a short story collection, was published after four novels had been written and rejected.
1976
Between 1976 and 1990 Carey wrote War Crimes, Bliss, Illywhacker and Oscar and Lucinda. Illywhacker was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Oscar and Lucinda won it.
1990
Carey moved to New York where he completed The Tax Inspector. He taught at NYU one night a week. Later he would have similar jobs at Princeton, The New School and Barnard College. During these years he wrote The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, Jack Maggs, and True History of the Kelly Gang for which he won his second Booker Prize.
2003
Peter Carey joined Hunter College as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Since then he has published five novels: My Life as a Fake, Theft, His Illegal Self, The Chemistry of Tears, and Parrot and Olivier in America (which was a finalist for both the U.S. National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize.)
2014
Amnesia is published and shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) and, in 2015, the Indie Book Awards.
2018
Peter Carey's fourteenth novel, A Long Way from Home, is published.
Books by Peter Carey
Author Videos
Peter Carey introduces his novel The Chemistry of Tears
Peter Carey on The Chemistry of Tears, Part II
Author Videos
Peter Carey introduces his novel The Chemistry of Tears
Peter Carey introduces his novel The Chemistry of Tears
Peter Carey on The Chemistry of Tears, Part II
Peter Carey on The Chemistry of Tears, Part II
Praise for Peter Carey

‘A new Peter Carey novel is cause for joy.’

Guardian
Praise for Peter Carey

‘A magnificent, poetic contemplation of the lying, fakery, and insincerity inherent in the act of artistic creation.’

The Times on My Life as a Fake
Praise for Peter Carey

‘Carey is one of the great story-tellers of our time, the kind who makes you take the phone off the hook, forget the television and ignore the doorbell.’

Evening Standard
Praise for Peter Carey

‘Peter Carey is one of the great writers in English now . . . He seems capable of anything.’

Kent Haruf
Quotes from Peter Carey

‘You could not tell a story like this. A story like this you could only feel.’

Oscar and Lucinda
<i>Oscar and Lucinda</i> <div class=

‘I had no doubt that something cruel and catastrophic had happened before I was even born, yet the comte and comtesse, my parents, would not tell me what it was. As a result my organ of curiosity was made irritable and I grew into the most restless and unhealthy creature imaginable – slight, pale, always climbing, prying into every drain and attic of the château de Barfleur.’

Parrot and Olivier in America
<i>Parrot and Olivier in America</i> <div class=
Questions about Peter Carey
Where can I find out more about Peter Carey?
Why did Peter Carey move from the short story form to the novel?

‘I had become addicted to the dangers and pleasures of the novel. A novel is a lot more fun. It’s so much more interesting. You go so far beyond what you know and what you think.’

Peter Carey, The Art of Fiction No. 188, ISSUE 177, SUMMER 2006

From the Journal
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Read the opening chapters of Peter Carey’s A Long Way From Home

Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in rural south eastern Australia. Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive. A Long Way from Home is a thrilling high speed story that starts […]

Feature
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Faber announces new Peter Carey novel

Faber & Faber has acquired Peter Carey’s new novel – a rip-roaring journey towards the meaning of love, family and home. Mitzi Angel acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Faber will publish in January 2018, Sonny Mehta at Knopf will publish in the US, Anne Collins at Random House […]