The Wheeler Centre
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Partners in Crime: Tom and Meg Keneally
How do you bond with your dad? Go to the cricket? Walk the dogs? How about writing a book together? How about writing twelve books together?
That’s what Meg Keneally has been doing with her dad, although it’s not such a strange idea in her case. Meg’s father is an icon of Australian literature, a Booker Prize-winner, a Miles Franklin-winner, and the author of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Schindler’s Ark and other classics – Tom Keneally.
So far, the pair have written two books together, The Soldiers Curse and The Unmourned, as part of a funny and engrossing historical crime fiction series. The Monsarrat series is about a crime-solving convict who travels between penal colonies cracking murder cases ... and the Keneallys are aiming to write another ten books in the series.
How did this collaboration come about? What are their creative similarities and differences as writers? And how do they resolve creative disputes? Tom and Meg tackle these questions and many more with host Chris Flynn.
Tom Keneally won the Booker Prize in 1982 with Schindler's Ark, later made into the Steven Spielberg-directed, Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List. His non-fiction includes the memoir Searching for Schindler and Three Famines, an LA Times Book of the Year, and the histories The Commonwealth of Thieves, The Great Shame and American Scoundrel.
His fiction includes Shame and the Captives, The Daughters of Mars, The Widow and Her Hero (shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award), An Angel in Australia and Bettany's Book. His novels The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers for the Paraclete won the Miles Franklin Award. The People's Train was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia division.
His latest book is Napoleon’s Last Island, published by Random House in November 2015.
Meg Keneally is the co-author, with father Tom Keneally, of the Monsarrat Series of historical crime novels.
Chris Flynn is the author of The Glass Kingdom and A Tiger in Eden, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. His latest novel is Mammoth, released in March 2020. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Age, the Australian, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, the Saturday Paper, Smith Journal, the Big Issue, Monster Children, McSweeney’s and many other publications. He has conducted interviews for the Paris Review and is a regular presenter at literary festivals across Australia. Chris lives on Phillip Island, next to a penguin sanctuary.