Cate Kennedy explains the construction of her stories in simple terms: ‘I live in a very ordinary place, a farm on a river. I listen to other people and I hear what they're saying.’
Supposedly ordinary spaces, however, can prove extraordinarily interesting upon close examination, as Kennedy’s oeuvre reveals. Take her short stories, for example, where place is vividly rendered in evocative bursts – from housing estates and hospitals to the contested spaces where bush bleeds into outer suburbia. Similarly in The World Beneath, Kennedy’s highly acclaimed novel, considerations of place are central to a story in which the Tasmanian wilderness forces her characters to confront the space between them – and the years that have drawn them apart.
Clunes Booktown Festival’s 2016 focus is ‘Journeys Through Time and Place’ – and what more perfect author than Kennedy to explore how this theme has resurfaced throughout her collected works? In conversation with Michael Williams, Kennedy will offer her thoughts on the deft – and often, powerfully understated – rendering of place in her stories and poems.
Cate Kennedy is the author of the highly acclaimed novel The World Beneath, which won the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2010. She is an award-winning short-story writer whose work has been published widely.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre.