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Papers of Thomas Keneally, 1948, circa 1960-2010 [manuscript]
Bib ID 1082129
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Keneally, Thomas, 1935-
Related Online
Access Conditions Permission required for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1948-2010] 
approximately 61.80 m. (50 boxes) + 177 cartons + 2 fol. boxes. 

MS 6428 comprises manuscripts and typescripts of novels, plays, short stories and articles and extensive correspondence. Works among the manuscripts include Bring larks and heroes, Confederates, The cut-rate kingdom, Halloran's little boat, Ned Kelly and the city of bees, Passenger, Season in purgatory, The survivor, A victim of the Aurora, "Bligh", and "Burke and Wills". A large proportion of the correspondence is with publishers, literary agents and editors including Philip Ziegler, Tessa Sayle, James Moad, Thomas Stewart, Peter Grose, Donald Horne, Peter Cross, W.R. Cumming, John Abernethy, Clem Christesen, Tim Curnow, Geoff Barnes, Geoffrey Blainey, Alec Bolton, Barbara Buick, Peter Coleman, Sir William Collins, Xavier Herbert, Leonie Kramer, Les Murray, Cyril Pearl, Grace Perry, Patricia Rolfe, Fred Schepisi, Gavin Souter and Douglas Stewart. Papers relating to Keneally's involvement with the Australian Republican Movement include correspondence, administrative papers, cuttings, publicity material, newsletters and journals (16 boxes, 1 fol. box).

The Acc05.198 instalment comprises correspondence, 1960-2004, including personal and with publishers and institutions, literary manuscripts, drafts, proofs, research material, reviews and related correspondence of books including The great shame, An angel in Australia. A river town, The cut-rate kingdom, Bettany's book, Essington, Sickles (American scoundrel), Flying hero class, Halloran's little boat and Towards Asmara. There are also screenplays, playscripts and scripts for television series. The tapes of interviews, plays and music include Sculthorpe's Child of Australia, with text by Keneally. Other material includes articles, notes and speeches, About town articles, "Memorabilia" relating to Australia and the United States, Australia-China Council papers, Children's summit papers and the manuscripts of other writers (4 boxes, 177 cartons, 1 fol. box).

The Acc10.139 instalment comprises papers documenting Thomas Keneally's career as a writer. They include correspondence, research material, notes and notebooks, draft manuscripts, proofs, speech texts, legal papers, and film and play scripts. Titles of works by or about Keneally which are represented in the papers include: Searching for Schindler; Rimau (a South Australian Film Corp film proposal which Keneally subsequently published as The widow and her hero); Thomas Keneally's Ireland (a documentary); Our republic; The great shame : a story of the Irish in the Old World and the New; Australians. Volume 1, Origins to Eureka; The people's train; Olympic glory (an IMAX film for which Keneally wrote the script); Three famines; To Asmara; The utility player : the Des Hasler story; Childermas; American scoundrel; Transport (a musical play written with American-Irish musician, Larry Kirwan); 'Either or'; 'Ha-Nosri'; Bettany's book; Roos in shoes; and The Commonwealth of thieves. Other records relate to Keneally's interests in refugees and an Australian republic, and a legal case against J.K. Rowling for plagiarism from a book by Adrian Jacobs, The adventures of Willie the wizard (published in 1987) (30 boxes).

The Acc10.214 instalment includes correspondence, research material and notes reflecting Thomas Keneally's career as a writer. The correspondence includes a list of editorial questions relating to a new publication by Keneally, 'People's history of Australia' (1 packet).

The Acc12.112 comprises correspondence; academic essays; drafts and outlines for both published and unpublished works, including plays, essays, talks and novels; research notes; ephemera; 'Shindlers list' screenplay (17 boxes).


Writer and playwright. Thomas Michael Keneally was born in Sydney in 1935 and educated at St Patrick's College, Strathfield. He trained for the Catholic priesthood but left the seminary before being ordained. From 1960 Keneally worked as a schoolteacher and, between 1968-1970, as a lecturer in drama at the University of New England. Keneally's first novel was published in 1964 but it was not until his third novel, Bring larks and heroes, that he took up writing as a full-time career. Keneally is one of Australia's most prolific and distinguished writers, having received many awards and been shortlisted for his novels and non-fiction works. He won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1967 (for Bring larks and heroes) and 1968 (for Three cheers for the Paraclete), and the Booker Prize (UK) in 1982 (for Schindler's ark). The latter book was adapted by Steven Spielberg as "Schindler's list", which won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993. In 1983, Keneally became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to literature, and in 1997 was named an Australian National Living Treasure. Keneally is a strong advocate for an Australian republic, and has published numerous essays and a book, Our republic (1993), on the subject.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 6428, MS Acc05.198, MS Acc10.139, MS Acc10.214, MS Acc12.112.

Related Material Conversation with Thomas Keneally; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1/307-309.  Thomas Keneally interviewed by Ken Russell Henderson in Hemisphere Magazine collection; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 5205. 
Source of Acquisition Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Thomas Keneally (MS 6428 and Acc05.198). 
Cited In

Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, E13.

Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid available online. 
Subjects Keneally, Thomas, 1935- -- Archives.  |  Australian Republican Movement.  |  Authors, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.  |  Novelists, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.  |  Dramatists, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.  |  Screenwriters -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Australian literature -- 20th century.
Time Coverage 1948-2010 
Occupation Authors.  |  Novelists.  |  Dramatists.  |  Scriptwriters.

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Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori communities are advised that this catalogue contains names and images of deceased people. All users of the catalogue should also be aware that certain words, terms or descriptions may be culturally sensitive and may be considered inappropriate today, but may have reflected the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written.