After leaving school, Moorhouse began as a copy boy and then trained as a cadet journalist on the Brian Penton’s legendary Sydney Daily Telegraph (1955-1957). He then worked as a reporter and editor on country newspapers during the years 1958-1962 (Wagga Wagga Advertiser as a reporter, Riverina Express as reporterand Lockhart Review as editor.

He returned to Sydney to become an administrator and tutor in media studies for the Workers’ Educational Association and later editor of the WEA magazine The Highway (1963-1965). He worked as a trade union organiser for the Australian Journalists’ Association and as part-time editor of The Australian Worker newspaper of the AWU – a union covering shearers, drovers, and other rural workers – the oldest trade union newspaper in Australia (1964).  In 1966 he was briefly editor of the country newspaper The Boorowa News.

At eighteen, he published his first short story, ‘The Young Girl and the American Sailor’, in Southerly magazine, edited by Kenneth Slessor and this followed publication of early stories in Meanjin, Overland, Quadrant, Westerly and other literary magazines.

Frank Moorhouse became a full-time fiction writer during the seventies also writing essays, short stories, journalism, and film, radio, and tv scripts.

In his early career he developed a narrative structure which he has described as the 'discontinuous narrative' (see below).

He has also written and lectured on the way communication and the control of communication has been developing and the relationship of creative professionals to the economy and to the political system.

He has been active in the defence of freedom of expression and in analysis of the issues affecting it and in the 1970s was arrested and prosecuted on a couple of occasions while campaigning against censorship.

He has been a chairman and a director and one of the founding group of the Australia Copyright Agency which was set-up by the publishers and authors to coordinate the use of copyright and which is now distributes millions of dollars annually to Australian writers.

He has been a president of the Australian Society of Authors and member of the Australian Press Council. He was also an organiser for the Australian Journalists’ Association.

He was appointed a member of the SYDNEY PEN eminent writers’ panel in 2005.
He has participated in Australian and overseas conferences in arts, communication and related areas and has taught, been a guest lecturer and writer-in-residence at Australian and overseas universities.


As a young man he taught a number of adult education courses for the Workers’ Educational Association in media studies which was then a new subject of study.
While he has not held a teaching position in any long-term sense, he has conducted master classes at universities in Australia and abroad.
 He has held occasional writer-in-residences including the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of NSW, University of Technology and Science (UTS), the Australian National University, and Griffith University.


Senior Fellow, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany, 2009 where he participated and observed English language creative writing courses -- by invitation;
R.C. Coombes Arts Fellow, Australian National University 2008;
Visiting Professor, University of Texas at Austin, where he taught a graduate workshop in fiction for one semester, 2002 – by invitation;
Writer-in-residence at King's College, Cambridge, one year, 1999 -- by invitation;
Colonel Johnson Fellow at the History Department of the University of Sydney 1995-96.
Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington D.C. 6 months, 1994—by invitation;

In 2011 he was invited to be writer-in-residence at an experimental writers’ retreat on Stradbroke Island initiated by Griffith University’ School  of Humanities.
He participated in the first mentoring project funded by the Australia Council and administrated by the Australian Society of Authors in which he mentored Julia Leigh (The Hunter) 1997.