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Thomas Keneally
, 1987

by Bernd Heinrich

oil on canvas (frame: 179.4 cm x 143.8 cm, support: 173.8 cm x 137.7 cm)

Thomas Keneally AO (b. 1935), author and republican activist, has achieved a high reputation for the breadth and accessibility of his writing, and his passion for causes about which many Australians feel deeply. He achieved his first major success with 'Bring Larks and Heroes' (1967), a novel about the Vinegar Hill convict uprising of 1804, based on the writings of Watkin Tench. It won the Miles Franklin Award, as did his next novel, 'Three Cheers for the Paraclete' (1968). His 1972 novel, 'The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith', won several awards and was made into a film in 1978. In 1982 he became the first Australian author to win the Booker Prize, with 'Schindler’s Ark', filmed by Steven Spielberg as 'Schindler’s List' (1993). His numerous non-fiction titles include a biography of Abraham Lincoln, and books on aspects of Irish history including 'Now and in Time to Be' (1991) and 'The Great Shame' (1998). In 2014, he published 'Australians: Flappers to Vietnam', the third installment of a multi-volume history of Australia. His many novels include 'The Tyrant’s Novel' (2004), 'The Widow and Her Hero' (2007), 'The Daughters of Mars' (2012) and, most recently, 'Crimes of the Father' (2016).

Like the portraits of Don Bradman and Barry Humphries, this work was in Gordon Darling’s personal collection before he donated it to the National Portrait Gallery.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2005
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2005.6