2014 is the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas Keneally’s first novel. He was the first Australian to win a Booker Prize (for Schindler’s Ark, filmed as Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Schindler’s List). He won the Miles Franklin twice.
Spielberg says he changed his life. Richard Flanagan says he ‘opened the space for me and for so many other Australian writers to follow’.
Fred Schepisi (who calls his writing ‘so beautiful and so descriptive and so clean’) waited years to get the film rights to The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. This powerful story of a black man’s revenge against an unjust and intolerant society was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Keneally is also an acclaimed historian; in his multi-volume Australians, he brings the vast range of characters who have formed our story to life. Volume Three follows the nation through the decades of the Great Crash, World War II and the Petrov Affair.
Join this national treasure and literary icon to discuss his work, past and present with historian and writer Robyn Annear.
Best known for her books Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne and A City Lost and Found: Whelan the Wrecker’s Melbourne, Robyn Annear is also the author of an unpublishable novel set in the city in 1893.
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.