Thomas Keneally (kənē´lē), 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, POW camps, 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), The Tyrant's Novel (2004), The Daughters of Mars (2013), and Shame and the Captives (2015). 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 the causes of 19th- and 20th-century famines.
See studies by P. Quartermaine (1991) and P. Pierce (1995).