A L Kennedy


22 October 1965 -

Novelist and short-story writer A(lison) L(ouise) Kennedy was born in Dundee. She studied English and Drama at Warwick University where she began writing dramatic monologues and short stories. She was Writer in Residence for Hamilton and East Kilbride Social Work Department and won the 1990 Social Work Today Award. 

She has worked for the arts and special needs charity Project Ability since 1989, first as Writer in Residence (1989-95), then as editor of Outside Lines magazine, and has been a member of the Management Committee since 1998. She was editor of New Writing Scotland (1993-5) and was Writer in Residence at Copenhagen University in 1995. She reviews for The Scotsman, the Glasgow Herald and the Daily Telegraph, is a contributor to the Guardian, and has been a judge for both the Booker Prize for Fiction (1996) and The Guardian First Book Award (2001). She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2000.

Her first book, Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains (1990), a bleak collection of short stories set in Scotland, won several awards including the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. In 1993 she was named as one of Granta magazine's 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'.

Other short story collections include Now That You're Back (1994) and Original Bliss (1997), and her novels include: Looking for the Possible Dance (1993), which centres on a young Scottish woman's relationships with her father, her lover and her employer; So I Am Glad (1995), winner of the Encore Award, which focuses on the trauma of child sexual abuse and its consequences in adulthood; and Everything You Need (1999), the story of a middle-aged writer living on a remote island and his attempt to build a relationship with his estranged daughter.

She wrote the screenplay to the BFI/Channel 4 film Stella Does Tricks, released in 1998, and edited New Writing 9 (2000) with John Fowles, published in the UK by Vintage in association with the British Council. Her book of short stories, Indelible Acts, was published in 2002.

In 2003 she was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. Day (2007) was winner of the 2007 Costa Book of the Year Award. Her short story collection All the Rage (2014) was shortlisted for Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award in 2014.

In 2009, she donated the short story Vanish to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the 'Air' collection.

Kennedy currently lives in London and is an Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick, having previously taught creative writing at the University of St Andrews. She performs as a stand-up comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe, comedy clubs and literary festivals. She is principally associated with The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh.

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