“One of Australia's finest contemporary writers.”
Chairperson: Cormac O'Grada
“By now I know the world does not need my books,” said Thomas Keneally in a recent Observer interview, but many readers will beg to differ. Keneally began writing at a time when Australian literature was regarded as an oxymoron, and that the world has since changed its tune is thanks in no small part to him.
For his first visit to Dublin Writers Festival, Keneally reflects on a fifty-year career that spans 29 novels and many works of non-fiction. Celebrated for his “scrupulous historical research, thumping storytelling and sympathy for the suffering” (The Daily Telegraph), Keneally has sustained an interest in Irish history throughout his career, from his early convict novel Bring Larks and Heroes to the recent Three Famines, which drew parallels between the Irish Famine and those in Bengal and Ethiopia.
He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize four times, finally winning in 1982 with Schindler’s Ark, a meticulously-researched novel based on the story of Oskar Schindler, the charismatic Nazi businessman who rescued over 1,000 Jews from the death camps. The most read novel in the history of the Booker Prize, it was later made into an Oscar-winning film by Steven Spielberg.
His latest work, Daughters of Mars– which tells the story of two Australian nurses in World War One – has been hailed as one of his best.