Carey’s second novel, the winner of many literary prizes


Peter Carey, Illywhacker (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1985), First Edition, reprinted in year of First Edition. Octavo, 22.5 x 14.8 cm, 600 pages, hard cover, illustrated book jacket. Weight 0.52 kg.

Near Fine/Fine. Book and dust jacket both fine, pages tanning as usual.

Illywhacker’s back jacket cover quotes G.A. Wilkes, A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms, on the title: “Illywhacker—a professional trickster, esp. operating at country shows [derived by Baker (1945: 138) from spieler”]. And the jacket mentions that Peter Carey comes from “a long line of aviators and car salesmen”. Born in 1943 in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Carey was educated at Geelong Grammar School and attended Monash University where he studied science for a year before leaving to work as an advertising copywriter. He began writing fiction in 1965, and spent two years in London in the late 1960s. Peter Carey’s collection of short stories, The Fat Man in History (1974), established him as a major Australian writer and literary innovator. His work can be replete with dark humour and sometimes grotesque, surreal and fantastic elements, and hints of magic realism. His novels Bliss (1981), Illywhacker and Oscar and Lucinda (1988) are more realistic, but with charged plots and characters. Carey became a full-time writer in 1988.

Illywhacker was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1985, and won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the Age Book of the Year Award and several other major Awards. To date Carey’s novels have won two Booker Prizes and three Miles Franklin Awards. After working in Sydney, Queensland and several other places in eastern Australia, Peter Carey moved in 1990 to New York, where he continues to reside. He taught part-time at New York University and at Princeton, The New School and Barnard College, and in 2003 joined Hunter College (City University of New York) as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. His new novel is due to be published at the end of 2017. Virtually all of his work involves Australian subjects and Australian history.