Keneally, Thomas (kənēˈlē) [key], 1935–, Australian novelist, b. Sydney. For a time a student of religion, and later of law, Keneally has ranged over a wide spectrum of subjects in his many novels, including the American Civil War, Nazi Germany, and rugby. Keneally insists that he must try to re-create the experience of his characters, thus the authentic flavor of works such as Schindler's Ark (1982, published in the United States as Schindler's List ). This novelistic treatment of a German businessman's efforts to save more than a thousand Jews during the Holocaust was the source of Steven Spielberg's film. In 2008 Keneally published Searching for Schindler, a memoir of the writing and filming of the story.
His other novels include The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972, film 1978), A Family Madness (1985), To Asmara (1989), Woman of the Inner Sea (1993), A River Town (1995), Office of Innocence (2003), and The Tyrant's Novel (2004). He has also written several nonfiction works; they include The Great Shame (1999), which explores the fates of the 19th-century Irish forced to immigrate to Australia; American Scoundrel (2002), a biography of Daniel Sickles; A Commonwealth of Thieves (2006), the story of Australia's beginnings as a colony for transported prisoners; and Three Famines (2011), a study of 19th- and 20th-century famines that finds their causes in failures by tyrannical powers to properly distribute food.
See studies by P. Quartermaine (1991) and P. Pierce (1995).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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