The question posed by Thomas Keneally’s win was whether Schindler’s Ark was a proper work of fiction or an imaginative piece of non-fiction. Fiction said the judges, resoundingly.

The Australian novelist had already written 16 novels before he started on Schindler’s Ark – later renamed Schindler’s List. He had not intended to write the book but in 1980 went into a shop in Beverly Hills to buy a briefcase. The proprietor, Poldek Pfefferberg, was a Holocaust survivor and one of the Jews saved by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler.

On discovering that Keneally was a novelist, Pfefferberg persuaded him to write the book. Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation went on to win seven Oscars.

Thomas Keneally
Published by
Hodder & Stoughton
Thomas Keneally’s remarkable, Booker-winning historical fiction about the unlikely hero who rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazi death machine.

The Shortlist

Silence Among the Weapons
An Ice-Cream War
The 27th Kingdom
Sour Sweet
Prize winner

The 1982 judges