Your basket is empty.

Carpentaria (old edition)

520 pages
19.7 x 13 cm
Published August 2006
ISBN 9781920882310
Epdf ISBN 9781922146052

Carpentaria (old edition)

Alexis Wright

Winner, Miles Franklin Literary Award
Winner, ALS Gold Medal
Winner, Queensland Premier’s Literary Award
Winner, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award

A new edition of Carpentaria was released in May 2023. Find it here.

Carpentaria is an epic of the Gulf country of north-western Queensland. Its portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, leader of the Westend Pricklebush people, and its battles with old Joseph Midnight’s renegade Eastend mob 2007 on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other. Wright’s storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel teems with extraordinary characters – the outcast saviour Elias Smith, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, the murderous mayor Bruiser, the moth-ridden Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist Will Phantom, and above all, the rulers of the family, the queen of the rubbish-dump and the fish-embalming king of time, Angel Day and Normal Phantom – figures of such an intense imagining, they stand like giants in this storm-swept world.

About the Author

Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Praiseworthy, Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright has published three works of non-fiction: Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory; and Tracker, an award-winning collective memoir of Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth. Her books have been published widely overseas, including in China, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. Wright has won a number of literary awards, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award for Carpentaria, and a Queensland Literary Award for Praiseworthy, which was also shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, one of the world’s richest literary prizes. She is the first author to win the Stella Prize twice – for Tracker in 2018, and for Praiseworthy in 2024.

Read more


A swelling, heaving tsunami of a novel: stinging, sinuous, salted with outrageous humour, sweetened by spiralling lyricism and swaggering with the confident promise of a tale dominated by risk, roguery and revelation

Michelle Grossman, The Australian


Winner, Miles Franklin Literary Award 2007

Winner, ALS Gold Medal 2007

Winner, Fiction Book Prize, Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards 2007

Winner, Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2007


The Guardian profile

The Guardian:‘The Australian book you’ve finally got time for: Carpentaria by Alexis Wright’

The Saturday Paper: ‘The Influence’: Jazz Money on Carpentaria

Articles by Alexis Wright

The Guardian: ‘The book big about small town Australia that travelled the world’

Educational resources

Carpentaria A Reading Australia Information Trail