Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thomas Keneally

It's the birthday of Australian author Thomas Keneally , born in Sydney in 1935. When he finished school, he entered the seminary to become a priest, but after six years, he had second thoughts and left to become a writer. He said later, "I thought if I get published I can make up for the fact that I'm a mad, ruined monk and work my way into society — including the society of girls."
He's written several books of nonfiction and many novels; he's best known as the author of Schindler's Ark (1982), the book on which the Steven Spielberg film Schindler's List (1993) was based.
His latest book is Three Famines: Starvation and Politics (2011), about the role of government in the outcomes of three famous famines: the 19th-century Irish potato famine, the 1943 famine in Bengal, and the Ethiopian famines of the 1970s and '80s. In it, he describes the psychological effects of starvation: "The victim becomes a new person. The fastidious become slovenly; the kindly become aggressive; the moral are caught up in the great amorality of famine. Fraternity and love wither. Judgment vanishes, and a hyperactive anxiety seizes the mind."

Stolen from The Writer's Almanac 

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