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Thomas Keneally Thomas Keneally i(A14782 works by) (a.k.a. Thomas Michael Keneally; Mick Keneally; Tom Keneally; T. Keneally)
Also writes as: Bernard Coyle ; William Coyle
Born: Established: 1935 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Male
Heritage: Irish
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Works By

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1 y separately published work icon The Pact Thomas Keneally , Sydney : Audible Australia , 2020 20832625 2020 single work novella

'From Australia's master storyteller comes an endearing and engaging novella about a journey as unexpected, painful, intriguing and character-filled as life itself. 

'A cruise was the promise. To cruise away from their troubles. To cruise towards the place where they first met, on the banks of the Thames. A cruise to dwell in their memories together and plan their next chapter. 

'Paddy and Jenny Davern have had a long and happy marriage together in Sydney. Together they embark on a cruise to London, for the last leisurely journey in each other's company. While on board, they meet a kaleidoscope of adventurous passengers that test their resolve to their promise to each other, and motivations towards their pact.' (Production summary)

1 What Is the Echidna’s Dreaming? Thomas Keneally , 2020 extract prose (Animals Make Us Human)
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7 November 2020; (p. 14)

'Tom Keneally ’s love letter to ‘Australia’s groundkeeper’ I got to know echidnas only after I moved to Manly and became an habitue of the wonderful headland scrub of North Head. It is a place where on bush tracks, and sometimes on the street, you encounter them, these well-spurred, spiky balls of spines with what I find to be an amiable snouted face.' (Introduction)

1 4 y separately published work icon The Dickens Boy Thomas Keneally , North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2020 18608019 2020 single work novel historical fiction

'In the late 1800s, rather than run the risk of his under-achieving sons tarnishing his reputation at home, Charles Dickens sent two of them to Australia.

'The tenth child of Charles Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, known as Plorn, had consistently proved unable ‘to apply himself ’ to school or life. So aged sixteen, he is sent, as his brother Alfred was before him, to Australia.

'Plorn arrives in Melbourne in late 1868 carrying a terrible secret. He has never read a word of his father’s work. He is sent out to a 2000-square-mile station in remotest New South Wales to learn to become a man, and a gentleman stockman, from the most diverse and toughest of companions. In the outback he becomes enmeshed with Paakantji, colonists, colonial-born, ex-convicts, ex-soldiers, and very few women.

'Plorn, unexpectedly, encounters the same veneration of his father and familiarity with Dickens’ work in Australia as was rampant in England. Against this backdrop, and featuring cricket tournaments, horse-racing, bushrangers, sheep droving, shifty stock and station agents, frontier wars and first encounters with Australian women, Plorn meets extraordinary people and enjoys wonderful adventures as he works to prove himself.

'This is Tom Keneally in his most familiar terrain. Taking historical figures and events and reimagining them with verve, compassion and humour. It is a triumph.'(Publication summary)

1 1 y separately published work icon The Ink Stain Thomas Keneally , Meg Keneally , North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2019 15407753 2019 single work novel historical fiction

'Henry Hallward, editor of the Sydney Chronicle, has been imprisoned for criminal libel so often he can edit the newspaper from his cell.

'While awaiting trial during one of his imprisonments, Hallward boasts of a story that will destroy several powerful people. But before he can finish it he is killed, and Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are sent to investigate.

'After Monsarrat meets with Colonel Duchamp, the governor’s right-hand man, it is clear the duo are on their own in solving this murder. And it seems there are many who had reason to wish Hallward dead. There is Gerald Mobbs, editor of the Chronicle’s rival newspaper. There is Duchamp’s sister, Henrietta, who can’t quite hide her cunning behind her ladylike exterior. And there is Albert Bancroft, an éminence grise whose property dealings seem to put him in an ideal position to have carried out the killing.

'Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney must sift through the suspects, unravel hidden agendas and navigate shifting loyalties, aware that at any moment Duchamp could ignominiously dismiss them, leaving Hallward’s murder unsolved and the independence of the colony’s press in grave jeopardy. And when a young boy is kidnapped, it becomes clear freedom of speech may not be the only casualty.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 1 y separately published work icon Two Old Men Dying Thomas Keneally , Sydney : Random House Australia , 2018 14769613 2018 single work novel

'Learned Man is the child of humankind as we know it; of those who are thought to have travelled from the Rift Valley in Africa and to ancient Australia.

'Shelby Apple is an acclaimed documentary-maker. After making films about Learned Man’s discovery, in Vietnam and back home in the Northern Territory, Shelby turns his sights on Eritrea. He thinks this embattled society might represent a new cognitive leap, one that will reconcile our tenderness and our savagery, our reason and our emotions.

'Shelby sees the world through the lens of his camera; Learned Man through the lens of his responsibility under law. Both men are well aware that their landscape comes to them from elders and ancestors. They are each willing to die and, in a sense, kill for their secret crafts.

'Two Old Men Dying is an exquisite exploration of community and country, love and mortality.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 y separately published work icon The Power Game Meg Keneally , Thomas Keneally , Melbourne : Penguin , 2018 13196958 2018 single work novel historical fiction crime

'When a boatman is murdered on a remote island off Van Dieman’s Land, the authorities want to blame a famous, and very inconvenient, political prisoner. But the victim’s history of blackmail prompts Monsarrat to look further afield – and not everyone is happy . . .

'In this, the third in the Monsarrat series, Hugh Llewelyn Monsarrat and his trusty housekeeper, Mrs Mulrooney, are sent to remote Maria Island to solve the murder of Bart Harefield, the detested cutter skipper responsible for bringing supplies and correspondence to the island. Bart knows that knowledge is currency and he’s not shy about reading the letters he brings across …

'When Harefield is murdered with an axe, blame is laid at the feet of Thomas Power, the charismatic Irish revolutionary held in detention – with a lot of privileges – on Maria Island. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are told to solve the murder. They soon realise their real job is to tie Power neatly to the crime, so he can be hanged without inciting rebellion.

'But were there others who also had reason to want to shut Harefield up?' (Publication summary)

1 Crimes of the Fathers Thomas Keneally , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The Tablet , 10 June 2017; (p. 4-5)

'Thomas Keneally laments the calamitous impact of the child sexual abuse scandal on the Catholic Church in Australia.'

1 Thomas Keneally : Death Is Not the Fly in the Cosmic Ointment. It Is the Cosmic Ointment Thomas Keneally , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 11 November 2017;

'Life is strong in people – we didn’t get to be wreckers of the planet without a mighty life force in us. But accepting death is one of the contentments of age.'

1 y separately published work icon The Unmourned Thomas Keneally , Meg Keneally , Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2017 10691699 2017 single work novel crime historical fiction

'Not all murder victims are mourned, but the perpetrator must always be punished . . .

'For Robert Church, superintendent of the Parramatta Female Factory, the most enjoyable part of his job is access to young convict women. Inmate Grace O’Leary has made it her mission to protect the women from his nocturnal visits and when Church is murdered with an awl thrust through his right eye, she becomes the chief suspect.

'Recently arrived from Port Macquarie, ticket-of-leave gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat now lives in Parramatta with his ever-loyal housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney. Monsarrat, as an unofficial advisor on criminal and legal matters to the governor’s secretary, is charged with uncovering the truth of Church’s murder. Mrs Mulrooney accompanies him to the Female Factory, where he is taking depositions from prisoners, including Grace, and there the housekeeper strikes up friendships with certain women, which prove most intriguing.

'Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney both believe that Grace is innocent, but in this they are alone, so to exonerate her they must find the murderer. Many hated Church and are relieved by his death, but who would go as far as killing him? ' (Publication summary)

1 Thomas Keneally Thomas Keneally , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: #SaveOzStories 2016;
'Because I was on book tour in Britain as this volume was put together, I had to fall back on the following fairly staid piece I wrote for the Australian Financial Review. There were some images cut from the piece which would have been tolerated in a more robust piece. For example, I described the Australian publishing industry as existing on a narrow ledge of guaranteed time. I am proud of what it has produced on that ledge. I celebrate the diverse commentary, the wealth of creation, now likely to be obliterated by a federal government trumpeting innovation. As the first step on that much-waited-for post-colonial road, they seek to obliterate the very industry equipped to interpret innovation to the citizenry. Similarly, I was tempted to call on Malcolm Turnbull to confront what he knew and cherished in his late, great uncle, Robert Hughes, who would—I am sure—have counselled his nephew by marriage against such a fatal step. And there was one last image cut from the piece, perhaps an exorbitant one but one that’s apposite. When I began to write, and I and other Australian writers, some older, some younger, were trying to create the craft of letters as a modern profession in Australia, it seemed that a well-published Australian was almost as rare and as much a cause for surprise as a goanna riding a bicycle. It isn’t any more, nor should it be.' (Introduction)
1 1 Productivity Commission Recommendation Threatens Livelihood of Book Industry Thomas Keneally , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Financial Review , 29 April 2016;
1 7 y separately published work icon The Soldier's Curse Meg Keneally , Thomas Keneally , Sydney : Random House Australia , 2016 9055849 2016 single work novel historical fiction crime

'In a penal station for second offenders at the edge of the known world, gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat hungers for a freedom he fears he may never again know. Originally transported for forging documents passing himself off as a lawyer, and later criminalised again for travelling outside the boundaries of his ticket of leave to visit his lover, he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement's Commandant.

'His position has certain advantages, such as being able to spend time in the Government House kitchen, being supplied with tea by housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney who, despite being illiterate, is one of the most intelligent people at Port Macquarie Penal Settlement. Her pet soldier Private Fergal Slattery, who is in charge of a convict crew hanging green wallpaper at Government House, is also among the kitchen's frequent visitors.

'With the Commandant away on an expedition, his beautiful young wife Honora falls ill, with a sickness the settlement doctor can't identify.

'When Honora dies, though, it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned.

'Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the Commandant's second in command, Captain Michael Diamond, a cruel man who had been nursing an obsession with Honora.

'But then, Diamond has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for the murder. Knowing his friend will likely hang if she is tried, Monsarrat has to find a means to identify the real killer.

'Monsarrat is able to solve the crime and is granted a ticket of leave for his efforts, on the condition that he continue to work solving crimes for the crown. He knows he will be incapable of fulfilling his obligations without Mrs Mulrooney (or her tea), and requests she be assigned as his housekeeper. And so begins The Monsarrat Series, a fast-paced, witty and gripping series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg.' (Publication summary)

1 y separately published work icon The Monsarrat Series Thomas Keneally , Meg Keneally , 2016 Sydney : Random House Australia , 2016 9055783 2016 series - author novel historical fiction
1 y separately published work icon Australians : A Short History Thomas Keneally , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2016 11974587 2016 selected work prose
1 Celibacy and the Modern Priest : Tom Keneally on His New Book Crimes of the Father Thomas Keneally , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 28 October 2016; The Age , 28 October 2016;

— Review of Crimes of the Father Thomas Keneally , 2016 single work novel
'In the early 1970s I knew a splendid priest whose authority to say Mass and operate within the Archdiocese of Sydney was terminated by the then prelate, Cardinal James Freeman. The priest's name was Father Pat Connor and he was a dear friend. As a young missionary in India, he was influenced by Gandhi, and I never knew a person who practised non-violent dissent with less pathology and more dignity and human love than Pat. As a peaceable man, he was involved in anti-Vietnam and anti-apartheid protest, including the famous and unwise Springbok tour of 1971. ...'
1 5 y separately published work icon Crimes of the Father Thomas Keneally , North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2016 10186060 2016 single work novel

'A timely, courageous and powerful novel about faith, the church, conscience and celibacy.

'Tom Keneally, ex-seminarian, pulls no punches as he interrogates the terrible damage done to innocents as the Catholic Church has prevaricated around language and points of law, covering up for its own.

'Ex-communicated to Canada due to his radical preaching on the Vietnam War and other human rights causes, Father Frank Docherty is now a psychologist and monk. He returns to Australia to speak on abuse in the Church, and unwittingly is soon listening to stories from two different people – a young man, via his suicide note, and an ex-nun – who both claim to have been sexually abused by an eminent Sydney cardinal. This senior churchman is himself currently empannelled in a commission investigating sex abuse within the Church.

'As a man of character and conscience, Father Docherty finds he must confront each party involved in the abuse and cover-up to try to bring the matter to the attention of the Church itself, and to secular authorities.

'This riveting, profoundly thoughtful novel is both an exploration of faith as well as an examination of marriage, of conscience and celibacy, and of what has become one of the most controversial institutions, the Catholic Church.' (Publication summary)

1 The Words We Loved Charlotte Wood , Geraldine Brooks , Graeme Simsion , Michael Robotham , Chris Wallace-Crabbe , Helen Garner , Favel Parrett , Gregory Day , Fiona Wright , Alexis Wright , Robert Adamson , Debra Adelaide , Lisa Gorton , Abigail Ulman , Christos Tsiolkas , Maxine Beneba Clarke , Susan Johnson , Kristina Olsson , Peter Goldsworthy , Tim Flannery , Malcolm Knox , Shane Maloney , Thomas Keneally , Don Watson , Anita Heiss , Omar Musa , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 12-13 December 2015; (p. 24-26) The Saturday Age , 12-13 December 2015; (p. 30)
Famous Australian writers pick their favourite reads of 2015
1 An Open Letter to the Prime Minister Richard Flanagan , Thomas Keneally , Peter Carey , 2015 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28-29 November 2015; (p. 34)
1 8 y separately published work icon Napoleon's Last Island Thomas Keneally , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2015 8864401 2015 single work novel historical fiction

'Whilst living in exile on St Helena, Napoleon exerted an extraordinary influence on young Betsy Balcombe. How did she get from Napoleon's side to the Australian bush?

'Betsy Balcombe as a young woman lived with her family on St Helena. They befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem the family's fortunes William Balcombe, Betsy's father, betrays Napoleon and accepts a job as the colonial treasurer of NSW, bringing his family with him. William never recovers from the ups and downs of association with Napoleon. His family however flourish in Australia and remain renowned pastoralists in Victoria.

'Tom Keneally, with his gift for bringing historical stories to life, shares this remarkable friendship and the beginning of an Australian dynasty.' (Publication summary)

1 Gutenberg Fights On : A Survival Story Thomas Keneally , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: The National Library of Australia Magazine , March 2015; (p. 28-30)
'Thomas Keneally gave the fifth Ray Mathew Lecture at the National Library on 4 September 2014.'
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