Also writes as: Bernard Coyle ; William Coyle
Born: Established: 7 Oct 1935 Sydney New South Wales ;
Thomas Keneally trained for several years for the Catholic priesthood but did not take Orders. He worked as a schoolteacher and clerk and taught drama at the University of New England. From the mid-1960s on, his novels began to appear and soon Keneally embarked on an extraordinary career as full-time and commercially prosperous writer, with remarkable success in Australia and overseas.
Interested not only in Australian history, but also in that of other parts of the world, Keneally has travelled widely and lived abroad, experiences reflected in the great variety of geographical and historical settings of his books. In 1987, for example, he travelled in Eritrea under the protection of the Eritrean Liberation Front, an event that formed the basis of his book on the Ethiopian-Eritrean war, Towards Asmara (1988).
Known for his humour as well as his moral stance and his commitment for the fate of ordinary people, Keneally has become a public figure in Australia and a sought-after speaker of distinction. He was made an AO in 1983, and, among many other honours, received a DLitt from the University of Queensland. A staunch supporter of Australian republicanism, he also wrote an account of his views on this controversial public issue, Our Republic (1993).
For more information see Thomas Keneally (1991) by Peter Quartermaine and Thomas Keneally : A Celebration (2006) by Peter Pierce.