Cate Kennedy at Adelaide Writers’ Week

Novelist Cate Kennedy at Adelaide Writers Week 2010

Novelist Cate Kennedy at Adelaide Writers Week 2010

Novelist and short story writer Cate Kennedy was one of the Australian speakers at this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week.

Cate is a novelist, poet and short story writer who has already achieved a significant body of work, wide recognition and a number of major awards, including winning The Age short story competition on two occasions. She is the author of the novel The world beneath and the poetry collections Joyflight and Signs of other fires. She also spoke at length about the inspiration for and the experiences which contributed to her travel memoir called Sing and don’t cry: a Mexican journal. This resulted from working in Mexico for two and half years during which time her yearning for Australia set her writing in earnest. Her collection of short stories called Dark roots was short listed for several literary awards in an era when writers are told that short stories do not sell.

I found her talk very interesting, especially on the way she goes about her writing.  She claims that story telling is in her blood and has been especially inherited from her grandfather who told her many stories in her formative years. One particular anecdote about him had the audience laughing. Her grandfather and a good friend – both in their 80s – worked out a mathematical formula which would enable them – at a calculated speed – to drive from one side of the Adelaide CBD to the other without having to stop at traffic lights. Somewhere their calculations went awry and they ended up crashing and in trouble with the law. It sounds dry and humourless told here, but Cate’s skill as a story teller enlivened the crowd listening to her.

She encouraged the writers present to have fun with their writing. ‘Write what you enjoy reading,’ she said. ‘Draw on your life experiences. Write the best you possibly can and you will get published.’

Good advice.

Good writing everyone.

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