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Cate Kennedy


Cate Kennedy writes across most genres – fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Her short stories and essays regularly appear in magazines and literary journals. She is one of Australia’s most popular teachers of the short story form.

Where were you born?

My father was in the Air Force so I was born during a posting to England before returning to live in many places around Australia.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Having a short story in The New Yorker was definitely a highlight – also having my short stories and novel published in the US and the UK. My work has been shortlisted for the Australian Literary Gold Medal and The World Beneath was recently awarded the People’s Choice prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. A constant highlight, though, is just meeting readers and other wonderful writers.

What other jobs have you had?

Like most writers, my career has been been a long and varied. I’ve worked in the Australian Customs Service, as a tutor, waitress, life model, kitchenhand, community arts worker and theatre director, as well as a stint in Mexico working in a microcredit cooperative for peasant farmers.

What are you passionate about?

Creativity and how to nurture it. Meeting young and emerging writers and sharing ideas with them. Trying to illustrate – especially to students and teachers – how writing can foster resilience, thoughtfulness, joy, connectedness and well-being.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

A great deal, but preferably face to face over a kitchen table.


My students were enthralled and loved Cate’s approachable and enthusiastic manner. They came away charged and ready to write, particularly in the style of Cate Kennedy’s short stories.

—A. Witter, Teacher of Humanities and English, Girton Grammar School Bendigo, 2016

Cate Kennedy was excellent!  She was engaging, warm and suggested useful, practical strategies that the students can use in their own writing.  The students said they found her presentation really interesting.  I had to cut Cate and the students’ questions off because we were running out of time but the kids were really engaged for the full hour.

—A. Daish, Teacher, Camberwell High School 2017

The kids loved having Cate work closely with them. They learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm she brought to the day.

—R. Beqir, Notre Dame College, July 2017.

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