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Kennedy, Anne
Writer's File

Anne Kennedy

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Kennedy, Anne
In brief
Anne Kennedy is an inventive poet and fiction writer. She has also developed scripts and worked as an editor. In her first two collections of poetry, the poems appear in sequence, and focus on female protagonists. While her first book explores domesticity and motherhood, the second is focused on a family of giants, particularly a young woman giant. Her poems and short stories have been included in anthologies and journals, and she has received several key awards. Her collection, The Darling North, won the poetry category at the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
  • Primary publisher
    Auckland University Press
  • Rights enquiries
    Anne Kennedy, anne.kennedy[AT]
  • Publicity enquiries
    Auckland University Press, aup[AT]


Anne Kennedy is a poet, fiction writer and scriptwriter. She has taught creative writing since 2000.

Kennedy won the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award in 1985.

Her novella, Musica Ficta, was published in 1993. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature says it ‘plays ingeniously between music and language, between the medieval and the modern' and 'is constructed of short, apparently discontinuous fragments, using multiple points of view, some in verse, some with the lyric intensity of haiku, often dependent on wordplay [...] Places, possessions and colours feature strongly as people try to make sense of memory and create connectedness.' An essay of Kennedy's in The Source of the Song (ed. Mark Williams, 1995) references Music Ficta. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature states 'The influence of film and television is evident throughout her work, as well as a rich weaving of musical elements and allusions, including in Musica Ficta parodic entries for the Oxford Companion to Music.'

She was the University of Auckland Literary Fellow in 1995.

Kennedy published a novel, A Boy and His Uncle (Picador, 1998) and wrote the screenplay for the film Monkey's Mask, from the verse novel by Dorothy Porter.

Her first book of poetry, Sing-Song (Auckland University Press, 2003) is described as an extraordinary and unusual sequence of poems. Told from a mother's point of view, the poems deal with the domestic life of a family, in particular the gruelling experience of eczema from which the little girl suffers.

Sing-Song received the Montana Award for Poetry at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

The Time of the Giants is Kennedy's second sequence of poems and is much less tied to the poets own experience (Auckland University Press, 2005). Wonderfully inventive, moving and amusing; it focuses on a family of giants and in particular a young woman giant and her efforts to conceal from her lover (normal size) just how tall she really is. Characteristically, this fabulous tale also includes gentle satire on contemporary manners, witty language and a warm, affectionate tone. It was nominated in the 2006 shortlist for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Kennedy's collection of poetry The Darling North was published by Auckland University Press in 2012. The collection won the poetry category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Anne Kennedy's novel The Last Days of the National Costume was published by Allen & Unwin in 2013. It was a finalist in the Fiction category of the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014.

Anne Kennedy was selected for the 2014 University of Auckland Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre. She won The Nigel Cox Unity Books Award in the same year.