The Distinguished Writers Series: Peter Carey
September 28, 2010
Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Australia in 1943, which he claims had a population of 4,000. This fact should probably be checked. What is not in doubt, however, is that two of his 11 novels have won the Booker Prize—Oscar and Lucinda in 1988, and True History of the Kelley Gang in 2001. His most recent novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, was published in 2010. Carey’s formal education began and ended in the early 1960s, when 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. For the next thirteen years he wrote fiction at night and weekends, working in 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, and made him an overnight success.