Keneally at the premiere of the film Brave at the Sydney Film Festival, 11 June 2012
|Born||Thomas Michael Keneally
7 October 1935
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Notable award(s)||Booker Prize|
Thomas Michael Keneally, AO (born 7 October 1935) is an Australian novelist, playwright and author of non-fiction. He is best known for writing Schindler's Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982 which was inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. The book would later be adapted to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Born in Sydney, Keneally was educated at St Patrick's College, Strathfield. Subsequently, a writing prize there has been named after him. He entered St Patrick's Seminary, Manly to train as a Catholic priest. Although he was ordained as a deacon while at the seminary he left without being ordained to the priesthood. He worked as a Sydney schoolteacher before his success as a novelist and was a lecturer at the University of New England (1968–70). He has also written screenplays, memoirs and non-fiction books.
Keneally was known as "Mick" until 1964 but began using the name Thomas when he started publishing, after advice from his publisher to use what was really his first name.1 He is most famous for his Schindler's Ark (1982) (later republished as Schindler's List), which won the Booker Prize and is the basis of the film Schindler's List. Many of his novels are reworkings of historical material, although modern in their psychology and style.
Keneally has also acted in a handful of films. He had a small role in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (based on his novel) and played Father Marshall in the award-winning Fred Schepisi film The Devil's Playground (1976).
Keneally was a visiting professor at the University of California, Irvine(UCI) where he taught the graduate fiction workshop for one quarter in 1985. From 1991 to 1995, he was a visiting professor in the writing program at UCI.3
He is a strong advocate of an Australian republic, meaning the abolition of the Australian monarchy, and published a book on the subject Our Republic in 1993. Several of his Republican essays appear on the web site of the Australian Republican Movement.
Keneally is a keen supporter of rugby league football,4 in particular the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles club of the NRL. in 2004 he gave the sixth annual Tom Brock Lecture.5 He made an appearance in the 2007 rugby league drama film The Final Winter.6
Most recentlywhen? Keneally featured as a writer in the critically acclaimed Australian drama Our Sunburnt Country.
|Man Booker Prize||The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, shortlisted 1972|
|Gossip from the Forest, shortlisted 1975|
|Confederates, shortlisted 1979|
|Schindler's Ark, winner 1982|
|Miles Franklin Award||Bring Larks and Heroes, winner 1967|
|Three Cheers for the Paraclete, winner 1968|
|An Angel in Australia, shortlisted 2003|
|The Widow and Her Hero, longlisted 2008|
|Prime Minister's Literary Awards||The Widow and Her Hero, shortlisted 2008|
|New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards||Special Award, winner 2008|
|Helmerich Award||Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, 2007|
Keneally wrote the Booker Prize-winning novel in 1982, inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. In 1980 Pfefferberg met Keneally in his shop, and learning that he was a novelist, showed him his extensive files on Oskar Schindler. Keneally was interested, and Pfefferberg became an advisor for the book, accompanying Keneally to Poland where they visited Kraków and the sites associated with the Schindler story. Keneally dedicated Schindler's Ark to Pfefferberg: "who by zeal and persistence caused this book to be written." He said in an interview in 2007 that what attracted him to Oskar Schindler was that "it was the fact that you couldn't say where opportunism ended and altruism began. And I like the subversive fact that the spirit breatheth where it will. That is, that good will emerged from the most unlikely places".1 The book was later made into a film titled Schindler's List (1993) directed by Steven Spielberg, earning the director his first Best Director Oscar. Keneally's meeting with Pfefferberg and their research tours are detailed in Searching for Schindler: A Memoir (2007). Some of the Pfefferberg documents that inspired Keneally are now housed in the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney.9 In 1996 the State Library purchased this material from a private collector.10 In April 2009 a copy of the list (including 801 names) was found in the documentation Thomas Keneally used as research material for his novel.
- The Place at Whitton (1964)
- The Fear (1965), rewritten in (1989) as By the Line
- Bring Larks and Heroes (1967), winner of the Miles Franklin Award, set in an unidentified British penal colony
- Three Cheers for the Paraclete (1968), winner of the Miles Franklin Award, comic novel of a doubting priest
- The Survivor (1969), a survivor looks back on a disastrous Arctic expedition
- A Dutiful Daughter (1971), Keneally's personal favourite
- The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972), also filmed. Written through the eyes of an exploited Aborigine who explodes in rage. Based on an actual incident. Keneally has said he would not now presume to write in the voice of an Aborigine, but would have written the story as seen by a white character.
- Blood Red, Sister Rose (1974), a novel based loosely on the life of Joan of Arc
- Gossip from the Forest (1975), tells of the negotiation of the armistice that ended World War I
- Season in Purgatory (1976), love among Tito's partisans in World War II
- Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees (1978), a book for children
- A Victim of the Aurora (1978), a detective story set on an Antarctic expedition
- Passenger (1979)
- Confederates (1979), based on Stonewall Jackson's army
- The Cut-Rate Kingdom (1980), Australia at war in 1942
- Schindler's Ark (1982), winner of the Booker Prize, later released and filmed as Schindler's List
- A Family Madness (1985)
- The Playmaker (1987), prisoners perform a play in Australia in the 18th Century
- Act of Grace (1985), (under the pseudonym William Coyle) Published as Firestorm in the US
- By the Line (1989), working-class families face World War II in Sydney
- Towards Asmara (1989), the conflict in Eritrea
- Flying Hero Class (1991), Palestinians hijack an aeroplane carrying an Aboriginal folk dance troupe
- Chief of Staff (1991), (under the pseudonym William Coyle)
- Woman of the Inner Sea (1993), Keneally retells a story once told him by a young woman that haunted his imagination
- Jacko (1993), madness and television
- A River Town (1995)
- Bettany's Book (2000)
- An Angel in Australia (2000), also published as Office of Innocence
- The Tyrant's Novel (2003), an Australian immigration detainee tells his story
- The Widow and Her Hero (2007), the effect of war on those left behind
- The People's Train (2009), a dissident escapes from Russia to Australia in 1911, only to return to fight in the revolution
- The Daughters of Mars (2012), two Australian sisters struggle to nurse soldiers horrifically wounded in World War I
- Moses the Law-Giver (1975)
- Outback (1983)
- Australia: Beyond the Dreamtime (1987)
- The Place Where Souls are Born: A Journey to the Southwest (1992)
- Now and in Time to Be: Ireland and the Irish (1992)
- Memoirs from a Young Republic (1993)
- The Utility Player: The Des Hasler Story (1993) Rugby league footballer Des Hasler
- Our Republic (1995)
- Homebush Boy: A Memoir (1995), autobiography
- The Great Shame (1998)
- American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles (2002), biography of Daniel Sickles
- Lincoln (2003), biography of Abraham Lincoln
- A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia (2005)
- Searching for Schindler: A Memoir (2007)
- Australians: Origins to Eureka (2009)
- Three Famines: Starvation and Politics (2011)
- Australians: Eureka to the Diggers (2011)
- "Irish Escape". Secrets of the Dead. 2008-06-04. PBS. Thirteen. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/episodes/irish-escape/watch-the-full-episode/128/.
- "Tom Keneally, interviewed by Peter Thompson", Talking Heads, ABC-TV, 30 July 2007. Accessed: 2007-10-11
- It's an Honour
- McClellan, Dennis (26 Sep 1994). "Keneally to Leave UCI for Home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Toby Creswell and Samantha Trenoweth (2006). 1001 Australians You Should Know. Australia: Pluto Press. p. 136. ISBN 1-86403-361-4.
- Tom Brock Lecture at the Australian Society for Sports History's website
- FitzSimons, Peter (20 October 2007). "The Fitz Files". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- Obama lauds Rudd
- "A library he calls his own". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). 24 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- "Schindler's List found in Sydney". BBC News. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
- http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2009/04/08/index.php?section=espectaculos&article=a09n2esp (In Spanish)
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Thomas Keneally|
- Tom Keneally at Random House Australia
- Life and Works of Thomas Keneally
- Australian Republican Movement web site. Search for "Keneally".
- Wonders of the Ross Sea Thomas Keneally recalls his voyages to Antarctica
- 1983, 1989, 1991, 1993 RealAudio interviews with Thomas Keneally at Wired for Books.org by Don Swaim
- Radio interview with Michael Silverblatt
- Part One of Booknotes interview with Keneally on The Great Shame and the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World, 2 January 2000.