Gerald Murnane was born in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne, in 1939. He spent some of his childhood in country Victoria before returning to Melbourne in 1949 where he lived for the next sixty years. He has left Victoria only a handful of times and has never been on an aeroplane.
In 1957 Murnane began training for the Catholic priesthood but soon abandoned this in favour of becoming a primary-school teacher. He also taught at the Apprentice Jockeys’ School run by the Victoria Racing Club. In 1969 he graduated in arts from Melbourne University. He worked in education for a number of years and later became a teacher of creative writing. In 1966 Murnane married Catherine Lancaster. They had three sons.
His first novel, Tamarisk Row, was published in 1974, and was followed by nine other works of fiction. His most recent book is the memoir, Something for the Pain. He has also published a collection of essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs (2005).
In 1999 Gerald Murnane won the Patrick White Award. In 2009 he won the Melbourne Prize for Literature. In the same year, after the death of his wife, Murnane moved to Goroke in the north-west of Victoria.