Michael Sharkey was educated at the Marist Brothers' High School, Parramatta. He gained a BA from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the University of Auckland. From 1965 to 1968 Sharkey worked at Cassell Australia in Sydney. In early 1979 Sharkey and Winifred Belmont (q.v.) established the Fat Possum Press in Armidale with the intention of publishing their own works and those of others in the New England and other non-urban regions. From 1983 to 1984 Sharkey was a lecturer in English at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education in Toowoomba, Queensland. He subsequently worked part-time at Footscray Institute of Technology in Melbourne and associated with Barrett Reid (q.v.). Sharkey continued his academic career at Bond University and the University of New England.
Sharkey has been a writer-in-the-community at libraries in Victoria and New South Wales. He was a member of La Mama Poetica and has read his poetry at venues across Australia, New Zealand, China and Europe. In 1994 Sharkey visited Germany as a guest at the Second Autumn Summer School on the New Literature in English at Aachen. He has made several return visits for Summer Schools at Osnabrück University (1996 and 1998), Kiel University (2000), Humboldt University, Berlin (2002) and The Free University (2005).
Sharkey has been chair of the New England Writers' Centre since 1993 and was editor of the literary magazine Ulitarra from 1996 to 2000. He became editor of the Australian Poetry Journal in 2014.
Sources: Adapted from:
'Sharkey, Michael Francis' in J.L. Blyth & P.T. McNally Darling Downs Writers: a Bibliography (1989): 88-91; 'Sharkey, Michael (1946- ) in William H. Wilde et. al. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature(1994): 690; Michael Sharkey 'Vale, Shelton Lea' , Overland 180 (2005): 67-70.
Further information provided by the author including amendments to inaccuracies in the OCAL entry.
Another Fine Morning In Paradise2012selected work poetry 'Another Fine Morning In Paradise, Sharkey's first collections since The Sweeping Plain, recounts the droll customs of suburban and rural Cockaigne, the existential states of earthly and other paradises, and re-imagines a poet's fragmented Australia. Isolation, loss and heartbreak are never far from these projections of the good life, in poems that characteristically celebrate endurance with compassion, allusiveness and wit.' (Publisher's blurb)