Publisher's synopsis

In True History of the Kelly Gang, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police.

‘I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.’

To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged.

Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.


  • Winner 2000 Centre for Australian Cultural Studies Award
  • Winner 2000 Colin Roderick Award, Best Australian Book
  • Winner 2001 Man Booker Prize (UK)
  • Winner 2001 QLD Premier’s Literary Awards, Best Fiction Book
  • Winner 2001 VIC Premier’s Literary Award, The Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction
  • Winner 2001 The Age Book of the Year Award, Fiction Prize
  • Winner 2001 The Age Book of the Year Award, Book of the Year
  • Winner 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia Region, Best Book for Region Award
  • Winner 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize, Overall Best Book Award
  • Joint Winner 2001 The Courier–Mail Book of the Year Award
  • Winner 2002 One Book One Brisbane
  • Winner 2002 Festival Awards for Literature (SA), The Premier’s Award
  • Winner 2002 Festival Awards for Literature (SA), Dymocks Booksellers National Fiction Award
  • Winner 2003 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (France)
  • Shortlisted 2000 Booksellers Choice Award
  • Shortlisted 2001 Miles Franklin Award
  • Shortlisted 2002 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award