Philip Salom was born in Western Australia and lived in the state’s South West farming areas. During this time he also studied and worked in cattle research and agricultural extension. After several years of painting he turned to writing.
Since 1980 he has produced fourteen books of poetry and five novels. His awards for poetry have been both national and international, and include twice winning the Commonwealth Poetry Book Prize in London, the Western Australian Premier’s Prize (twice) and the Newcastle Poetry Prize (in 1996 and again in 2000). Philip has also been recognised with the prestigious Christopher Brennan Award, a lifetime award for poetry “of sustained quality and distinction”.
His collection The Well Mouth was named a Sydney Morning Herald Book of the Year, and Adelaide Review Book of the Year. Two slightly unexpected collections by Salom are written through his heteronyms—The Keeper of Fish by Alan Fish, and Keeping Carter by MA Carter. In 2015 Philip published the poetry trilogy Alterworld which includes Sky Poems, The Well Mouth and the new section Alterworld in a searching and strange interrogation of history and consciousness through imagined human ‘worlds’.
His novels have also attracted wide-ranging acclaim—through reviews in major papers, journals and award lists. The Returns was shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award and the Queensland Premier’s Prize. In 2016, Waiting was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and the Prime Minister’s Award. His two earlier novels are Toccata and Rain which was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the WA Premier’s Prize for Fiction, and Playback which won the WA Premier’s Prize for Fiction.
His new novel is The Fifth Season, a story based around missing persons and disappearances and, perhaps more strangely, the phenomenon of found people: people who are found dead, their identities unknown or erased.
He has read as a guest writer in America, Canada, Britain, the Republics of Serbia and Macedonia, Italy, Singapore and New Zealand.