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  • Published: 24 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781926428505
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 264
  • RRP: $29.99

His Stupid Boyhood: A Memoir

Peter Goldsworthy, award-winning author of the much-loved Maestro, explores his influences in this quirky, brilliant, funny childhood memoir.

Few Australian writers have delved as deeply as Peter Goldsworthy into the mysterious state of being that is childhood.

In this memoir he applies his fascination with that state to his own boyhood, from his bizarre first memories to the embarrassments of adolescence. For all his working life Goldsworthy has been both doctor and writer – Australia's Chekhov – and here he reveals a mind charmed equally by science and literature, by the rational and the imagined.

The country towns he grew up in gave free rein to the young Peter's intense curiosity, and in the fifties and sixties he ran amok in hilarious fashion. A boy with a mind wide open to the universe but closed to self-knowledge, he came of age with a naive self-confidence that was ripe for the bursting.

Comically self-deprecating, unrestrained in its honesty, His Stupid Boyhood is a passport to the lost country of youth, and a beautiful homage to childhood in general.

'Australia's most wide-ranging writer shows us where it all comes from: out of that single, concentrated, burningly self-conscious point of being an unusually alert infant.' Clive James

'Goldsworthy writes with a graceful irony of the terror, boredom, longing, shame and leation of boyhood. We can only hope that this is the first volume of his story.' Susanna Moore

  • Published: 24 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781926428505
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 264
  • RRP: $29.99

About the author

Peter Goldsworthy

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 several years in alcohol and drug rehabilitation, but since then has divided his working time between general practice and writing. He has won major literary awards across a range of genres: poetry, short story, novels, theatre, and opera libretti.

Goldsworthy's novels have sold over 400 000 copies in Australia alone, and have been translated into European and Asian languages. His novels have three times been shortlisted for the NSW Christina Stead Fiction Prize, and twice for the Miles Franklin Award. Three Dog Night won the 2004 FAW Christina Stead Award, and was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC prize. In 2003, his first novel, Maestro, was voted by members of the Australian Society of Authors as one of the Top 40 Australian books of all time.

Five of his novels have been adapted for stage and screen. Everything I Knew, published in 2008, was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Fiction Prize. A collection of short stories, Gravel, was published in 2010.

Also by Peter Goldsworthy

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Praise for His Stupid Boyhood: A Memoir

A story told with puns, poetry and almost photographic recall, full of the influence of books and a precocious curiosity, of joy in discovering how the world works ... Hilarious ... Rich with episodes and characters that stay around to haunt the reader with exuberant humour or a little stab of empathetic sadness.

Katharine England, The Advertiser (Adelaide)

Excruciating and hilarious in equal measure ... His Stupid Boyhood has a delightful, almost improvisatory quality ... It illuminates Goldsworthy's wider oeuvre ... by making explicit many of the tensions and contradictions surrounding sexuality and masculinity that move beneath the surfaces of his fiction ... He is asking us to share in an intimate landscape we almost never glimpse even in those we are closest to.

James Bradley, Weekend Australian

Warm and entertaining.

Kári Gíslason, Australian Book Review

Goldsworthy's self-deprecating candour adds a light touch to his existential searching.

Michael McGirr, Saturday Age

Goldsworthy has the control to make his memoir of a precociously bright boy growing up in regional towns more than a rose-coloured-glasses trip through 1950s Australia ... This is an intelligent, humorous and at times emotional insight into the boyhood forces that shaped the man.

Michael Pickering, Men's Style

There are passages that echo the common experience of all males of a particular vintage ... Charming.

Herald Sun

Goldsworthy reminds us of the random violence of childhood, and the capacity of children – now unfashionable to remark upon – to be wicked, lying manipulators ... A teacher's son, he captures perfectly the peripatetic strangeness of that existence, and the predictable (for a bookish child) comforts of eccentric school libraries. An engaging and nostalgic read.

Walter Mason, Good Reading

Honest, unflaggingly humorous and entertaining, and conjures wonderful images, which enable the reader to share Goldsworthy's own journey. More please.

Chris Harrington, Books & Publishing

A hilarious account of coming-of-age adventures, it goes some way to providing clues as to why his life led him down a path of medicine and writing.


Goldsworthy recalls his larrikin, peripatetic Aussie childhood with humour and honesty.

Burnie Advocate

[Goldsworthy] tells his story with wit and mordant self-deprecation.

Newcastle Herald

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