Supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust

Everywhere and Nowhere

Presented by Kate Jennings on Tuesday 29 June 2010.

Kate Jennings was born in the Riverina district of New South Wales in 1948.  Her childhood years were spent running through the backblocks of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation area with her brother,  acquiring entrepreneurial skills from her father and other local farmers.

She moved to Sydney to attend the University of Sydney in 1966, where she became involved in the feminist movement. Kate Jennings was 20 years old when she demanded the right to speak and the right to be listened to at an anti-war rally at the University of Sydney in 1970. The ‘Front Lawn Speech’, as it is now known, catapulted her into the limelight and the writing life, setting the tone for a career as a writer that has, so far, spanned 40 years.

In that time, she has edited the first anthology of Australian women’s poetry, the forthrightly named Mother I’m Rooted. She has published poetry, short stories and essays. She has worked in magazine publishing and written speeches for bankers on Wall Street. She has published two novels, Snake and Moral Hazard, both of which were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She has won the ALS Gold Medal, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the Adelaide Festival Fiction Prize. And, since 1979, she has been a resident of New York City.   As part of her Australian visit to deliver the Ray Mathew lecture, she is also promoting her newest book, Trouble: Evolution of a Radical, Selected Writingss, 1970-2010.

Kate Jennings lecture explores the notion of the term ‘expatriate’ and her own experiences as an ‘Australian-born’ author, who ended up reinventing herself several times during her 30 years living in New York. She also reflects on her friendship with Ray Mathew.

The National Library holds copies of all of Jennings’ books published in fiction and non-fiction, including copies published in French, Dutch and German.

Listen to the lecture on our podcast page
Read the essay: Everywhere and Nowhere (267KB)

Author Kate Jennings

Author Kate Jennings at the National Library of Australia for the 2010 Ray Mathew Lecture, Canberra.
Photo: Loui Seselja

Kate Jennings – book signing

Kate Jennings – book signing following the Ray Mathew Lecture, 29 June 2010.
Photo: Louis Seselja