Peter Goldsworthy grew up in various Australian country towns, finishing his schooling in Darwin. After graduating in medicine from the University of Adelaide in 1974, he worked for many years in alcohol and drug rehabiiltation. Since then, he has divided his time equally between writing and general practice. He has won major literary awards across a range of genres: poetry, short story, the novel, in opera, and most recently in theatre.

His novels have sold over 400,000 copies in Australia alone, have been translated into many European and Asian languages; Three Dog Night, won the FAW Christina Stead Award'; in 2003 his first novel Maestro was voted by members of the Australian Society of Authors one of the Top 40 Australian books of all time. Maestro is now available in the Angus&Robertson Australian Classics series, and his 1995 novel Wish in the Text Classics series.  He wrote the libretti for the Richard Mills operas Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and Batavia, the latter winning Mills and Goldsworthy the 2002 Robert Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work, and a Green Room Award for Special Creative Achievement. 

Maestro, Three Dog Night, Wish, Honk If You Are Jesus, and the short story The Kiss have been adapted for the stage. Honk won the 2006 Ruby Award for Best New Work. The short film of The Kiss, adapted and directed by Ashlee Page, won both the 2010 Dendy and AFI awards for best short feature, and an AFI award for Best Cinematography. It also won the Australian Teachers of Media Award for best short film.

His poetry can be read at online The Australian Poetry Library: and read and heard at The Poetry Archive:


  • 1979: Western Australian Sesquicentenary Literary Prize for the short-story Memoirs of a small 'm' marxist.
  • 1982: Ann Elder Award for Readings from Ecclesiastes
  • 1982: Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Readings for Ecclesiastes.
  • 1982: South Australian Premier's Award for Readings for Ecclesiastes.
  • 1988: Australian Bicentennial Prize for Poetry, the Grace Perry Prize, for This Goes With This.
  • 2002 Robert Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work for the opera Batavia
  • 2002: Green Room Award for Special Creative Achievement for Batavia
  • 2004: FAW Christina Stead Award for Three Dog Night
  • 2006: Ruby Award for Best New Work for stage adaptation of Honk If You Are Jesus
  • 2006: Advertiser 'Oscart' award for Best Play for stage adaptation of Honk If You Are Jesus
  • 2010: Medal of Australia for services to literature


  • Maestro: Short-listed for Miles Franklin award.
  • This Goes With That: short-listed for the SA Premier's Prize, and the National Book Council Banjo Awards.
  • Little Deaths: Short-listed for the NSW Premier's Christina Stead Award, the Adelaide Festival Prize, and the Steele Rudd award.
  • Wish: Short-listed for the NSW Premier's Christina Stead Award.
  • Three Dog Night: Short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, the NSW Premier's Christina Stead Award, the Queensland Premier's Literary Award, the Colin Roderick Award, the Courier-Mail Book of the Year award; Long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC award.
  • Everything I Knew:  shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Fiction Award.
  • Gravel:  shortlisted for the ASAL Gold medal for Literature, and the Steele Rudd Award