Poet and Novelist



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Current Biography

Philip Salom began publishing in 1980 and since then has written fourteen books of poetry, including several that have been attracted international praise for their expansive imagination and language. His book Sky Poems won the British Airways Commonwealth Poetry Prize in London for the overall Best Book of Poetry in the British Commonwealth and his first book The Silent Piano won the earlier Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Best First Book. He has received further acclaim through international reviews and from guest appearances in America, Canada, Britain, the Republics of Serbia and Macedonia, Italy, Singapore and New Zealand. 

In 2011/2012 - as a sudden departure and an answering call to Portugese poet Fernando Pessoa's use of heteronyms - Salom published two collections written through dramatically different heteronyms. The Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter feature strongly lyric author-characters Alan Fish and M A Carter and these two books complete the trilogy begun with Keepers (2010). Keepers is a hybrid verse-novel set in a Creative Arts School. In the new books, Fish is introspective and empathetic and Carter is badly-mannered and immoderate.

Salom's collection The Well Mouth feature poems, voices, portraits and an underlying narrative in prose. The Well Mouth  was named a Sydney Morning Herald Book of the Year, an Adelaide Review Book of the Year, and was re-printed three times. printings.

In 2015 his latest poetry collection Alterworld completed the trllogy made up of Sky Poems, The Well Mouth and new work - Alterworld. For more details about Alterworld see the Books section.

In 2016 his third novel Waiting was published (see the Home page and Books page on this site for a description). His two earlier novels are Toccata and Rain (2005) which was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the WA Premiers Prize for Fiction, and Playback, which won the WA Premiers Prize for Fiction. 

Major awards (apart from the two Commonwealth Poetry Book Prizes in London) include the Western Australian Premiers Prize (twice for Poetry and once for Fiction) and the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize (in 1996 and again in 2000). He has received several major Australian Council Fellowships and also many shortlistings for his books. 

In 2003 Philip Salom was recognised with the Christopher Brennan Award - a prize given for lifetime achievement in poetry, recognising a poet who produces work "of sustained quality and distinction".


[See Full Biography link on the left for a bio within a longer time-frame.]

April 20, 2011



  • Alterworld (Puncher & Wattmann, 2015)
  • Between Yes and No (Flying Island Books, 2014)
  • Keeping Carter (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012)
  • The Keeper of Fish (Puncher & Wattmann, 2011)
  • Keepers (Puncher & Wattmann, 2010) 
  • The Family Fig Trees (Picaro Press, chapbook, 2007)
  • The Well Mouth (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2005, 2006, 2008, Puncher & Wattmann, 2012) 
  • A Cretive Life (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2001) 
  • New and Selected Poems (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1998) 
  • The Rome Air Naked (Penguin, 1996)
  • Feeding the Ghost (Penguin, 1993) 
  • Tremors (National Library of Australia, Pamphlet series, 1992)
  • Barbecue of the Primitives (University of Queensland Press, 1989)
  • Sky Poems (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1987, 1993)
  • The Projectionist: a sequence (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1983)
  • The Silent Piano (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1980)
  • Waiting (Puncher & Wattmann, 2016)
  • Toccata & Rain (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2004) 
  • Playback (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1991, 2003) 
April 24, 2011


Philip Salom has performed as a guest poet and speaker in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Republics of Macedonia and Serbia, Singapore and New Zealand. His works have won the following prizes:


Commonwealth Poetry Prize (British Airways / Commonwealth Institute London) for Overall Best Book of Poetry in the British Commonwealth in 1987 – Sky Poems

Commonwealth Poetry Prize (as above) for Best First Book in 1981 – The Silent Piano

WA Literary Award for Poetry (Now Premiers Prize for Poetryin 1984 - The Projectionist

WA Literary Award for Poetry (Now Premiers Prize for Poetry) in 1987 - Sky Poems

WA Premiers Prize for Fiction in 1992 – Playback

South Australian Literary Award for Poetry in 1984 - official second prize– The Projectionist

The Age Book of the Year in 1987 – only poetry book shortlisted - Sky Poems

The Barbara Ramsden Award in 1987 - Highly Commended - Sky Poems

Anne Elder Prize for Best First Book of Poetry – second prize – The Silent Piano

Sydney Morning Herald Best Books of the Year 2005 - The Well Mouth

Adelaide Review Best Books of the Year 2006 - The Well Mouth

Miles Franklin Award for Literature 2017 - Shorlisted - Waiting

Prime Minister's Award for Literature 2017 - Finalist - Waiting

Victorian Premier's Prize 2016 - Shortlisted - Waiting

Other Shortlisting: Victorian Premiers Prize, NBC Banjo Awards, John Bray (SA) Poetry Prize, Blake Poetry Prize, Mattara Poetry Prize 


In 2003 the Christopher Brennan Award went to Philip Salom.

One of the most gratifying of all awards, this one reminds us of the great Christopher Brennan and acknowledges one poet annually for their entire body of work up to that point. The wording indicates that it is a lifetime award for poetry " of sustained quality and distinction". What is also pleasing about receiving the award is knowing it has been awarded precisely as stated, except in a very few cases as acknowledgement of services to poetry (not stated as such but logical).


Newcastle Poetry Prize for "Preservation: Things in Glass", later published in A Cretive Life.

Newcastle Poetry Prize for "Elegy For My Father", later published in New and Selected Poems.

Australia - New Zealand Literary Exchange Fellowship

            - a month-long reading and speaking tour of the major cities of New Zealand

Senior Fellowships and Grants from the Australia Council - Literature

Inaugural Winner of BR Whiting Residency in Rome

Percival Serle Bequest  for Toccata, best MA in the English Department of Melbourne University


April 02, 2011
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