Writing

Cover image of Kate Kennedy's Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney

Recent Books:

Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney (Princeton University Press, May 2021)

The first comprehensive biography of an extraordinary English poet and composer whose life was haunted by fighting in the First World War and, later, confinement in a mental asylum.

Ivor Gurney (1890–1937) wrote some of the most-anthologized poems of the First World War and composed some of the greatest works in the English song repertoire, such as “Sleep.” Yet his life was shadowed by the trauma of the war and mental illness, and he spent his last fifteen years confined to a mental asylum. In Dweller in Shadows, Kate Kennedy presents the first comprehensive biography of this extraordinary and misunderstood artist.

More information

Cover image of Lives of Houses, edited by Kate Kennedy and Hermione Lee

The Lives of Houses (co-editor with Hermione Lee, Princeton University Press, 2020)

A group of notable writers—including UK poet laureate Simon Armitage, Julian Barnes, Margaret MacMillan, and Jenny Uglow—celebrate our fascination with the houses of famous literary figures, artists, composers, and politicians of the past.

‘Kate Kennedy’s moving essay on Ivor Gurney is attentive to the different forms of displacement he suffered as he moved from one asylum to the next, dreaming of a long-since tarnished image of home.’
– Lara Feigel, in her review of The Lives of Houses for The Spectator.

Other Books:

Plays, scripts, and opera libretti:

  • The Fateful Voyage (City of London Festival, broadcast BBC Radio 3), 2018.
  • Beyond The Ruins (composer: Charlotte Bray) Royal Opera House, 2016.
  • Unsung Heroines of Classical Music – Lady Maud Warrender (The Essay, BBC Radio 3, 2015).
  • A Postcard from London 1914 (actor: Jonathan Pryce, broadcast BBC Radio 3, 2014).
  • Making Arrangements (composer: Charlotte Bray, Tete a Tete Opera Festival, 2013).
  • The Fox and the Crow (composer: Charlotte Bray, Tete a Tete Opera Festival, 2013).

Academic articles and book chapters:

  • ‘Ivor Gurney: Embracing and Attacking A. E. Housman’ in ed. Delia de Sousa Correa, Edinburgh Companion to Music and Literature (EUP, 2020).
  • ‘Britten’s Narrators: Reliable and Otherwise’ in Opera and Fiction, 2019.
  • ‘Music’s War Poets’ in Britain and Victory in the Great War, 2018.
  • ‘Requiems and Memorial Music’ in Edinburgh Companion to the First World War and the Arts (EUP, 2017).
  • ‘A Tribute to my Brother: Women’s Literature and its Post-war Ghosts’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, 2015.
  • ‘ ‘A music of grief’: classical music and the First World War’, Journal of International Affairs, 14 March 2014.
  • ‘Sight-reading Katherine Mansfield’, Landfall, University of Otago Press, 2010.
  • ‘‘But still he died nobly’: Gurney’s Re-interpretation of the Pastoral Elegy’, Ivor Gurney Society Journal, 2009.
  • ‘Mother England’, Ivor Gurney Society Journal, 2008.

Journalism and magazine articles: