Peter Carey


7 May: PC born in Bacchus Marsh in Victoria, Australia.


Attends Monash University for one year.


Begins work at various Melbourne advertising agencies (until 1967).


Marries Leigh Weetman, whom he met at Monash U. His first novel is rejected. His first five novels are all rejected.


PC and Weetman move to London, where he works at ad agencies. His copy is well-respected, but his fiction can't find a publisher.


Return to Australia; PC continues in advertising in Melbourne and Sydney.


Publishes The Fat Man in History, a collection of short stories, mainly from 1970 to 1974.


PC moves to Queensland, joins an alternative community named Starlight in Yandina, north of Brisbane, with his new partner, the painter Margot Hutcheson. Still employed at Grey Advertising, he writes in Yandina for three weeks, then spends the fourth week at the agency in Sydney. Here he produces most of the stories collected in War Crimes, as well as Bliss, his first published novel.


Publishes War Crimes.


New South Wales Premier's Literary Award for War Crimes.

Publishes The Fat Man in History and Other Stories, later published in 1981 as Exotic Pleasures.

Starts his own advertising agency, the Sydney-based McSpedden Carey Advertising Consultants.

After many years of separation, Leigh Weetman asks for a divorce. PC grants it.


Moves to Bellingen in northern New South Wales.

Marries theatre director Alison Summers

Miles Franklin Award for Bliss.


New South Wales Premier's Literary Award and National Book Council Award for Bliss.


Bliss is produced as a movie. It wins awards for best film and best screenplay from the Australian Film Institute, and the Australian Writer's Guild Major Award.

Publishes Illywhacker, which is The Age Book of the Year winner and is shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

16 March: Marries Alison Summers, theatre director.


Illywhacker wins the Victorian Premier's Literary Award and the National Book Council Award.


Publishes Oscar and Lucinda, which wins the Booker Prize.


Moves with Alison Summers and their son to New York, where he takes a job teaching creative writing at New York University.


Publishes The Tax Inspector.


Publishes The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, a fable in which he explores the relationship between Australia and America. This is a relationship that has preoccupied him throughout his career, going back to Bliss, Illywhacker, and the early short stories.


Publishes True History of the Kelly Gang, which wins the Booker Prize.


Joins Hunter College at CUNY, as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing.


Publishes Theft: A Love Story, which receives much attention because it's seen as a roman a clef about his breakup with Alison Summers, depicting the toxic relationship between its protagonist, Butcher Bones, and his ex-wife, known only as "the Plaintiff." It is longlisted for the Booker Prize.


Publishes His Illegal Self.


Publishes Parrot and Olivier in America, his first truly American novel, loosely based on events in the life of Alexis de Tocqueville. It is shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the US National Book Award.


Publishes The Chemistry of Tears.

Named an Officer of the Order of Australia for "distinguished service to literature as a novelist, through international promotion of the Australian identity, as a teacher, and as a mentor to emerging writers."


Publishes A Long Way From Home. (US publication date: 2018)

I did not know that history is like a blood stain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it.