Frank Moorhouse began his writing career as a cadet journalist on the Sydney Daily Telegraph. Later he worked on several country newspapers and became editor of the Australian Worker in 1963. His involvement in the politics of journalism and writing led to terms as a union organiser for the Workers Education Association and the Australian Journalists Association. Moorhouse was also president of the Australian Society of Authors (1981-1983) and was involved in the efforts of writers to protect their copyright against large-scale photocopying.
Particularly early in his career, Moorhouse was known for his use of the 'discontinuous narrative', an innovative narrative method using interconnected stories. In the 1960s and 70s, he was identified as a 'Balmain writer', one of a group of politically radical and sexually experimental writers, whose influences included the 'Sydney Libertarianism' of John Anderson. Many of Moorhouse's early works were set in 'le ghetto Balmain', particularly The Americans Baby (1972), which established him as a leading short fiction writer. Balmain was also the subject of much of his anthology, Days of Wine and Rage (1980).
Moorhouse was co-founder of the short story magazine Tabloid Story (1972) and edited the last issue (1973) of Coast to Coast and other short story anthologies. He has also written screenplays and articles for newspapers and periodicals. He was one of the first recipients of an Australia Council Creative Fellowship, living and working in Europe for four years researching and writing his historical novel Grand Days and its sequel Dark Palace. Moorhouse was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1985 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Griffith University in 1997.
Moorhouse has received a range of fellowships including: Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Library of Congress (1994), Senior Fulbright Fellow, USA (1994), Colin Johnston Scholar, University of Sydney (1995-1996), writer-in-residence, King's College Cambridge (1999), University of New South Wales Literary Fellowship (2004) and writer-in-residence, University of Technology Sydney (2009).
His books have been translated into French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Serbian, Swedish, Polish and Spanish.
Cold Light2011single work novel historical fiction 'It is 1950, the League of Nations has collapsed and the newly formed United Nations has rejected all those who worked and fought for the League. Edith Campbell Berry, who joined the League in Geneva before the war, is out of a job, her vision shattered. With her sexually unconventional, husband, Ambrose, she comes back to Australia to live in Canberra.
'Edith now has ambitions to become Australia's first female ambassador, but while she waits for a Call from On High, she finds herself caught up in the planning of the national capital and the dream that it should be "a city like no other".
'When her communist brother, Frederick, turns up out of the blue after many years of absence, she becomes concerned that he may jeopardise her chances of becoming a diplomat. It is not a safe time to be a communist in Australia or to be related to one, but she refuses to be cowed by the anti-communist sentiment sweeping the country.
It is also not a safe time or place to be "a wife with a lavender husband". After pursuing the Bloomsbury life for many years, Edith finds herself fearful of being exposed. Unexpectedly, in mid-life she also realises that she yearns for children. When she meets a man who could offer not only security but a ready-made family, she consults the Book of Crossroads and the answer changes the course of her life.
' Intelligent, poignant and absorbing, Cold Light is a remarkable stand-alone novel, which can also be read as a companion to the earlier Edith novels Grand Days and Dark Palace.' (From the publisher's website.)
The Writer in a Time of TerrorGriffith Review
142006single work essay 'Frank Moorhouse considers the threat [to freedom of expression in Australia], documents the attack, explores its consequences and challenges us to respond.' (Griffith Review website)