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The Writer, Peter Goldsworthy
, 2018

by Deidre But-Husaim

oil on canvas (frame: 107.0 cm x 98.8 cm, support: 104.0 cm x 96.5 cm)

Peter Goldsworthy AM (b. 1951) studied medicine at the University of Adelaide and after graduating worked in drug and alcohol rehabilitation while starting to write. His first book of poetry, Readings from Ecclesiastes, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for a debut collection, the South Australian Premier’s Award, and was joint winner of the Anne Elder Poetry Award in 1982. His first book of short stories, Bleak Rooms, was published in 1988 and his debut novel, Maestro (1989), was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Subsequent works include the novels Honk If You Are Jesus (1992); Wish (1995); Three Dog Night (2003), which won the Christina Stead Award; and Everything I Knew (2008), which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literature Award. Also an essayist and screenwriter, he wrote the libretti for the operas Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and Batavia, the latter winning him a Helpmann Award in 2002. His novella Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam (1993) – one of several of his works adapted for the stage – was performed in Sydney and Perth in 2018.

Deidre But-Husaim writes: ‘When painting Peter I wanted to represent more than just his appearance, I wanted to convey the process of trying to bring a thing or an idea into being … I wanted to offer a glimpse of the inner private world of Peter alone with his imagination, all unformed possibilities before him.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by Jillian Broadbent AC, Dr Helen Nugent AO 2018
Accession number: 2018.48.1