Philip Neilsen

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Philip Neilsen
Taken by Mhairead under the leopard tree at Sherwood.jpg
BornBrisbane, Queensland, Australia1
OccupationPoet, Academic, Editor
GenrePoetry, Fiction.

Philip Max Neilsen is an Australian poet, fiction writer and editor. He teaches poetry at the University of Queensland and is adjunct professor of creative writing at the Queensland University of Technology.


Neilsen was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. His grandparents and great grandparents were emigrants from Norway, Scotland, England and Germany. He attended Brisbane Grammar School and the University of Queensland where he gained honours, masters and doctoral degrees in English and taught for nine years. He founded the creative writing program at the Queensland University of Technology in 1997. He has been a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. Previously, he has been Chair of the Queensland Writers Centre and Chair of PEN Australia North. Neilsen is married to legal ethicist and novelist Mhairead MacLeod.

Writing and editing[edit]

Neilsen’s work ranges from satire and fabulism to lyricism and social realism, and explores social, environmental and personal subjects. Literary influences he has mentioned include W. H. Auden, Philip Roth, Margaret Atwood, David Malouf, Judith Wright, Elizabeth Bishop and Simon Armitage. His poetry earned a Young Writer’s Fellowship from the Australia Council in 1976. Edward Britton , a young adult novel co-authored with Gary Crew was a CBC Australian Notable Book in 2001. His work has been translated into Chinese, German, Korean and Serbian. His poetry was included in the 2008 Norton anthology The Making of a Sonnet (Eds. Edward Hirsch & Eavan Boland), The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry (Ed. John Kinsella, 2009), Australian Poetry Since 1788 (Eds. Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray, 2011), The Turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry (University of Louisiana, 2014) and The Best Australian Poems 2017 (Ed. Sarah Holland-Batt) (Black Inc.)

He wrote the first monograph of literary criticism on David Malouf’s work, Imagined Lives (UQP, 1990 & 1996) and edited the first collections of Australian satirical poetry (The Penguin Book of Australian Satirical Verse (1986) and The Sting in the Wattle (UQP, 1993). Neilsen’s poetry has been acclaimed by Les Murray, John Kinsella, Sarah Holland-Batt, Bronwyn Lea, Martin Duwell and Bruce Dawe, among others. His work has been shortlisted for prizes including an Aurealis Award, Fair Australia Prize and the ASAL Gold Medal. He has recently won prizes in the Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Poetry Award and the MPU International Poetry Competition.

His areas of research include creative writing therapy in the promotion of mental health, eco-criticism and environmental poetry. He currently teaches poetry and poetics at the University of Queensland.

Poetry books[edit]

Faces of a Sitting Man (Makar Press, 1975).
The Art of Lying (Makar Press, 1979)
Australian Poets on Tape: Philip Roberts & Philip Neilsen (UQP, 1980)
Life Movies (QCP, 1981)
We’ll All Go Together (with Barry O’Donohue)(QCP, 1983)
Without an Alibi (Salt: Cambridge, 2008)
Wildlife of Berlin (University of Western Australia Publishing, 2018)

Children’s and young adult books[edit]

Emma and the Megahero (Reed Books, 1995)
The Lie (Lothian, 1997)
The Wombat King, (Lothian, 1997)
Edward Britton (with Gary Crew) (Lothian, 2000)
Splot the Viking (Penguin, 2008)

Scholarly Books[edit]

Imagined Lives: A Study of David Malouf (University of Queensland Press, 1996)
The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing Co-edited with David Morley (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
Creative Arts in Counseling and Mental Health Co-edited with Robert King and Felicity Baker (SAGE, 2015)

Edited Anthologies[edit]

The Penguin Book of Australian Satirical Verse Edited by Philip Neilsen (Penguin Books, 1986)
The Sting in the Wattle Edited by Philip Neilsen (University of Queensland Press, 1993)
50 Years of Queensland Poetry Co-edited with Helen Horton (Central Queensland University Press, 1998)
Difficult Love: Short Stories Co-edited with Helen Horton (Central Queensland University Press, 2000)

Short stories[edit]

His short stories have appeared in The State of the Art (ed. Frank Moorhouse), Paradise to Paranoia (eds. Nigel Krauth and Robyn Sheehan), Latitudes (ed. Susan Johnson), The Dark House (ed. Gary Crew) and journals such as Southerly, Overland and Linq. The autobiographical essay ‘Humility’ appeared in Eleven Saving Virtues (ed. Ross Fitzgerald). A digital story ‘The Storyteller’ is available at


Review of Without an Alibi in Australian Book Review June, 2008.

External links[edit]

QUT profile at Web site at