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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), medical doctor and writer, was born in Minlaton, South Australia, and grew up in various country towns as his father, a school teacher, moved for work. Goldsworthy studied medicine at the University of Adelaide, and after graduating in 1974 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 Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Anne Elder Poetry Award in 1982. His first book of short stories, Bleak Rooms, was published in 1988 and his debut novel, Maestro, appeared the following year. Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, Maestro was adapted for the stage in a collaboration between Goldsworthy and his daughter Anna, a concert pianist. Subsequent works include the novels Honk If You Are Jesus (1992), Wish (1995) and Three Dog Night (2003), which won the FAW Christina Stead Award, and Everything I Knew (2008), which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literature Award. His works have been translated widely, and four have been adapted for the stage, as has the short story The Kiss. Also an essayist and screenwriter, Goldsworthy wrote the libretti for Richard Mills’ operas Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and Batavia, the latter winning him and Mills the 2002 Helpmann Award for the best new Australian work, and a Green Room Award for special creative achievement. His most recent collection of short stories, Gravel (2010), was shortlisted for the ASAL Gold Medal. His Stupid Boyhood: a Memoir was published in 2013. The stage adaptation of Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam (1993) is taking place in 2018. The Minotaur, his first novel in a decade, and an opera based on the lives of Ned and Ellen Kelly (written with the composer Luke Styles), are appearing in 2019.

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