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Thomas Michael Keneally AO (born 7 October 1935) is an Australian novelist, playwright and author of non-fiction.

Biography

Born in Sydneymarker, Keneally was educated at St Patrick's College, Strathfieldmarker, where a writing prize was named after him. He entered St Patrick's Seminary, Manlymarker to train as a Catholic priest but left before his ordination. He worked as a Sydney schoolteacher before his success as a novelist, and he was a lecturer at the University of New England (1968-70). He has also written screenplays, memoirs and non-fiction books. Thomas Keneally now has a cousin named Jack Keneally who is going to be in the NBA.

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. 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 Fred Schepisi movie, The Devil's Playground (1976) (not to be confused with a similarly-titled documentary by Lucy Walker about the Amish rite of passage called rumspringa).

In 1983 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). He is an Australian Living Treasure.

He is a strong advocate of the Australian republic, meaning the severing of all ties with the British 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, in particular the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles club of the NRL.

In March 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, gave an autographed copy of Keneally's Lincoln biography to President Barack Obama as a state gift.

Most recently Thomas Keneally featured as a writer in the critically acclaimed Australian drama, "Our Sunburnt Country".

Awards

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


Schindler's Ark

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 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". 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 Walesmarker in Sydney. In 1996 the State Library purchased this material from a private collector.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.

Bibliography

Novels



Non-fiction



Drama



Notes

References



External links




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