Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 his rich life experience has included study for the Catholic priesthood, a vocation he left in 1960 before ordination, work as a school teacher, football coach, drama lecturer and he also studied law. He has travelled widely in Australia and overseas, and has worked and lived abroad for extended periods.
It was his interest in history that brought Tom his first major success as a writer and the first of many awards. His second published novel, Bring Larks and Heroes, was awarded the Miles Franklin Award in 1967. Three Cheers for the Paraclete, his third novel published a year later in 1968, also received the Miles Franklin Award. His novel Schindler’s Ark earned Tom the Booker Prize in 1982 the film adaptation of Schindler’s List receiving numerous awards including 7 Academy Awards a decade later.
Tom is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, chairperson of the Australian Society of Authors 1987–90, a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council 1985–88, and president of the National Book Council 1985–89. Tom received the Order of Australia in 1983.
The National Library of Australia hold copies of all of Tom's published works, including many in foreign editions. Tom was interviewed by Hazel de Berg for our Oral History Collection in October 1967 and has been interviewed on a number of subsequent occasions. He is represented in our Pictures Collection; the Friends of the National Library celebrated him in 2006; and we are honoured to hold Tom’s papers in our Manuscripts Collection.
Listen to the 2014 Ray Mathew Lecture.
(Note - There are discrepencies between the audio recording and the written notes, as the original lecture was lost prior to the talk).