Peter Kirkpatrick studied at the universities of New South Wales and Sydney. In 1988 his PhD thesis on Sydney literary life in the 1920s was awarded the Australian Academy of the Humanities/Esso Bicentennnial prize for Cultural History.
Kirkpatrick's publications include numerous articles in the area of cultural history and literary criticism. His prize-winning book The Sea Coast of Bohemia: Literary Life in Sydney's Roaring Twenties, was published in 1992. Other publications include his poetry collection Wish you Were Here (1996), The Queen of Bohemia: The Autobiography of Dulcie Deamer(1998) and, with Jill Dimond, Literary Sydney: A Walking Guide (2000).
Peter Kirkpatrick has taught at Sydney University, Ballarat College of Advanced Education and the University of Western Sydney.
In 2017, Kirkpatrick published a lengthy overview of Australian poetry from the 1940s to the 1960s in the online Oxford Research Encyclopedia: the entry is available here.