Born in Sydney in 1935, Thomas Keneally completed his schooling at various schools on the New South Wales north coast before commencing theological studies for the Catholic priesthood. He abandoned this vocation in 1960 and turned to clerical work and schoolteaching. One of the most successful modern Australian writers, Keneally has been short-listed for the Booker Prize on 4 occasions: in 1972 for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest in 1975, and Confederates in 1979, before winning the prize in 1982 with Schindler's Ark. Schindler's Ark was later turned into the Oscar Award winning film Schindler's List directed by Steven Spielberg. Keneally has also won the Miles Franklin Award twice with Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers for the Paraclete. Thomas Keneally was awarded the Order of Australia in 1983 for his services to Australian Literature.