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Cate Kennedy's first book, the acclaimed short story collection Dark Roots, was shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. She is also the author of the travel memoir Sing and Don't Cry: A Mexican Journal and the poetry collections Joyflight and Signs of Other Fires. The World Beneath is her first novel.
Acclaimed by the New Yorker as a 'furious and perceptive' writer of 'sharp, evocative and poetic' fiction, Cate Kennedy has a rare talent - the ability to write life with needlepoint emotional precision. In The World Beneath, her first novel, she has used all of her gifts to craft a gorgeous, stark family drama - a story of a father and daughter lost in the eerie, treacherous beauty of the Tasmanian mountains. Fifteen years after he walked out on his wife and child, Richard takes his teenage daughter on a mountain hike. Against the jaw-dropping beauty of the Tasmanian mountain forests and lakes, he hopes he will be able to bridge the rift between them. But Sophie and her father soon find themselves out of their depth - lost in a treacherous, freezing landscape, two strangers battling against each other and the hostile elements.
We found the old car in the shed the very first day we moved to the farm. Dad put it under the peppercorn tree. 'You kids might as well play in it for the time being,' he said. We couldn't wait to find out where that car would take us.A story about three children, one old car, and a world of imagination.
WINNER OF THE 2013 STEELE RUDD AWARD, QUEENSLAND LITERARY AWARDSSHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 STELLA PRIZESHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 KIBBLE AWARDFrom prize-winning short-story writer Cate Kennedy comes a new collection to rival her highly acclaimed Dark Roots. In Like a House on Fire, Kennedy once again takes ordinary lives and dissects their ironies, injustices and pleasures with her humane eye and wry sense of humour. In 'Laminex and Mirrors', a young woman working as a cleaner in a hospital helps an elderly patient defy doctor's orders. In 'Cross-Country', a jilted lover manages to misinterpret her ex's new life. And in 'Ashes', a son accompanies his mother on a journey to scatter his father's remains, while lifelong resentments simmer in the background. Cate Kennedy's poignant short stories find the beauty and tragedy in illness and mortality, life and love.PRAISE FOR CATE KENNEDY'This is a heartfelt and moving collection of short stories that cuts right to the emotional centre of everyday life.' Bookseller and Publisher'Cate Kennedy is a singular artist who looks to the ordinary in a small rural community and is particularly astute on exploring the fallout left by the aftermath of the personal disasters that change everything.' The Irish Times
WINNER OF THE VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARDS C.J. DENNIS PRIZE FOR POETRYSHORTLISTED FOR THE 2011 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN PREMIER'S BOOK AWARDSDisarming, warm, and always accessible, Cate Kennedy's poems make ordinary experiences glow. Everything that suffuses her well-loved prose is here: compassion, insight, lyrical precision, and the clear, minimalist eye that reveals how life can turn on a single moment. Musing on the undercurrents and interconnections between legacy, memory, motherhood, and the natural world, the poems in this exhilarating collection begin on the surface and then take us, gracefully and effortlessly, to a far more thought-provoking place. Grounded in lived experience, with all its mysteries and consolations, they resonate with a passionate, sensuous honesty.PRAISE FOR CATE KENNEDY'Kennedy writes fine poetry ... marvellous.' The Age'Pack[s] an emotional punch. Kennedy excels at drawing extraordinary details out of the seemingly mundane minutiae of everyday life, with a sharp, focused eye for the politics of the personal. Her depictions of rural life and the Australian landscape are particularly evocative. It's a welcome addition to the often-underrated canon of Australian poetry.' The Herald Sun
Back in the eighties, Rich and Sandy were environmental campaigners: idealistic, passionate about their cause, and desperately in love. Now, twenty-five years later, and long since separated, they have both settled into the uncomfortable compromises of middle-age; about the only thing they share in common is their teenage daughter, Sophie. When Rich decides to take Sophie on a six-day hike into the Tasmanian outback, he hopes the journey will bring them closer together. But in the epic wilderness he once felt so passionate about, he now finds nothing but disorientation and fear - his daughter seems harder to reach then ever, and events soon begin to spiral dangerously out of control. In order to survive, father and daughter must first traverse an emotional gulf to learn how to trust each other and believe in themselves... Intense and beautifully told, gripping to the very last page, The World Beneath is a remarkable book about the mysterious and changing landscapes of family life: a novel to lose yourself in.
WINNER OF THE 2010 PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR THE NSW PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARDSSHORTLISTED FOR THE 2010 AUSTRALIAN BOOK INDUSTRY AWARDS LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEARSHORTLISTED FOR THE 2010 BARBARA JEFFERIS AWARDOnce, Rich and Sandy were environmental activists, part of a world-famous blockade in Tasmania to save the wilderness. Now, twenty-five years later, they have both settled into the uncomfortable compromises of middle age - although they've gone about it in very different ways. The only thing they have in common these days is their fifteen-year-old daughter, Sophie. When Rich decides to take Sophie, whom he hardly knows, on a trek into the Tasmanian wilderness, his overconfidence and her growing disillusion with him set off a chain of events that no one could have predicted. Instead of respect, Rich finds antagonism in his relationship with Sophie; and in the vast landscape he once felt an affinity with, he encounters nothing but disorientation and fear. Ultimately, all three characters will learn that if they are to survive, each must traverse not only the secret territories that lie between them but also those within themselves.PRAISE FOR CATE KENNEDY'Cate Kennedy, celebrated for her short fiction, this year began her long-distance career with The World Beneath. To my mind, she enters the stadium a hundred metres in front of the next novice and with the best time for many years.' The Age'This is a thought-provoking journey into contemporary Australia; an impressive debut novel.' Australian Book Review
From the strains of a dissolving relationship, to the ripple effect of a chance encounter in an ordinary life, the characters in Cate Kennedy's Dark Roots speak of the hidden motivations that propel us all into action. Kennedy's characters hover at tipping points in their lives, at which an apparently insignificant decision can propel them into an undreamed of future, or mean the power of life and death. In just a few pages, Cate Kennedy captures whole lives with masterful narrative restraint - the regrets, the successes and the unintended ironies. She reveals how relationships can break down either slowly, through the accumulation of grievances, or suddenly, in a rush, with one false step. But she also shows how love for a partner, a child, or even a stranger, can save us. Dark Roots is a bravura collection of stories, by turns heartbreaking, richly comic and, above all, unerringly human.
SHORTLISTED FOR 2007 PREMIER'S QUEENSLAND LITERARY AWARDS: AUSTRALIAN SHORT STORY COLLECTIONOPRAH MAGAZINE 'NEW VOICE OF THE MONTH'In these sublimely sophisticated tales, Cate Kennedy opens up worlds of finely observed detail. Her stories are populated by people at tipping points in their lives - moments that find them poised between a familiar past and an unfamiliar future. In 'The Testosterone Club', a neglected wife plans an unsavoury revenge on her boorish husband. In 'Resize', a married couple realise their too-tight wedding rings may symbolise wider aspects of their relationship. And in 'Cold Snap', a young boy senses that the newly arrived tree changer may have some sinister intents. Heartbreaking, evocative and richly comic, Dark Roots unveils the traumas that incite us to desperate measures, and the coincidences that drive our lives.PRAISE FOR CATE KENNEDY'stunning ... Each story picks you up, takes you out of your life and smack bang into the middle of another place and time where the troubles and joys are laid bare and stripped back to their essence with incredibly spare and gifted writing. This collection is a joy to read...' The Sunday Age'These are precisely observed pieces, deserving of a wide audience.' The Guardian