April 8, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Australian writer Peter Carey, the author of The True History of the Kelly Gang (2001), a novel about his country’s most famous folk hero that a reviewer there called “regrettably scintillating,” will read at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 22, in Room 115 of Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College. The event, sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, department of English, Scott Turow Foundation and the George Lurcy Lecture Series and Fund, is free and open to the public.

Carey wrote The True History of the Kelly Gang in the voice of the 19th-century “bushranger,” or highwayman, Ned Kelly, whom some consider an Australian Robin Hood. “In a spectacular feat of literary ventriloquism,” Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times, Carey “summons the rollicking, unschooled, hugely colorful voice of Australia’s best-known underdog.” It is, she wrote, “as if Huck Finn and Shakespeare had joined forces to prettify the legend of Jesse James.”

Born in Australia in 1943, Carey received a degree from Monash University in 1961. His first short fiction, collected in The Fat Man in History (1974) and War Crimes (1979), was published in the late ’70s; he supported himself writing advertising copy until 1988. His first novel, Bliss (1981), was followed by Illywhacker (1985), Oscar and Lucinda (1988), The Tax Inspector (1991), The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith (1994) and Jack Maggs (1997). Both Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang won the Booker Prize, making Carey only the second writer so honored twice.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. The Center's Website is at http://www.amherst.edu/~cwc.