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Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally has published over thirty novels. They include Schindler's Ark, which won the Booker Prize and was subsequently made into the film Schindler's List, and The Chant Of Jimmie BlacksmithConfederates and Gossip From The Forest, each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are The Daughters Of Mars, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize in 2013, Shame and the Captives and Crimes of the Father. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including his memoir Homebush BoySearching for Schindler and Australians. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney.

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and, as well as writing many novels, has shown an increasing interest in producing histories. His history of Irish convictism was a read-out of the problems of Ireland itself was entitled The Great Shame and was published in all the English language markets. The same was true of his later work, The Commonwealth of Thieves, which looked upon the penal origins of Australia in a way which sought to make the reader feel close to the experience of individual Aboriginals, convicts and officials. He has tried to bring the same intimacy and sense of surprise to A History of Australians His short biography of Abraham Lincoln, signed by the author, was recently given by the Australian prime minister to President Obama of the United States as a gift.

As a novelist, his better known works include Bring Larks and Heroes, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, Schindler’s Ark, Towards Asmara, and The People’s Train. He has the won the Miles Franklin Award, The Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Book Prize, the Royal Society of Literature Prize, the Scripter Award of the University of Southern California, the Mondello International Prize, the Helmerich Prize (U.S.). He holds a number of national and international honorary doctorates and is particularly proud of the one awarded by the National University of Ireland. He has also been awarded the Gold Medal of the University of California. He has made cameo appearances in a number of Australian films, the last being as a gate-keeper in The Final Winter. His offer to Spielberg to play a rabbi in Schindler’s List was politely rebuffed. He has in recent years published Three Famines, a narrative history of famine, and his new novel, The Daughters of Mars, Napoleon’s Last Island and Crimes of the Father. The Book of Science and Antiquities,  a novel in part about a man living and dying 42,000 years ago in a community of homo sapiens in Australia, will be published in October 2018.

He was the founding chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, and served on the Australian Constitutional Commission and the Australia-China Council and has been declared a National Living Treasure.

He has now published three volumes of A History of Australians and written four Monsarrat gentleman-convict detective stories with his daughter Meg Keneally. He lives in Sydney with his wife Judy.

His next novel, The Dickens Boy, will be published by Sceptre in 2020. 


Praise for The Dickens Boy

‘Keneally has brought off a notable double: a delightful and continuously interesting portrayal of mid-19th century life in the rolling sheep pastures of New South Wales and an acute and persuasive examination of the mystery that Charles Dickens still presents, and of the enduring fascination he exerts over us today.’ Scotsman

‘Absorbing… Plorn himself is a joy: alternatively meek and bumptious, and rather ordinary. Every time someone new appears he endures their veneration of his father. Introduced to two stockmen who deify Charles Dickens at length and gawp at the progeny of the great man, Plorn despairs. “ ‘Please,’ I called out. ‘I’m just me.’ ” The Dickens Boy is the enjoyable, novel-length version of that plaintive cry’ The Times

'An engrossing and transporting read' The Financial Times 

An ingenious, hilarious novel . . . Keneally does what he does so well: he plucks people from the pages of history and gives them emotional lives’ The Australian

‘Keneally is a master at weaving historical figures and events into compelling works of fiction and so he does with his new book’ Brisbane News

‘Rewarding terrain for a much-loved novelist’ Gleaner

‘A dashing, crisply written book’ Saturday Paper

‘Tender and wry as the novel is, it has a tough-minded postcolonial core . . . Keneally’s other life as a historian informs every page; his is an antique footnote swelled up to life-size’ Australian Book Review

Thomas Keneally Titles