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Kate Kennedy

Weinrebe Director, Oxford Centre for Life-Writing


Dr Kate Kennedy is a biographer, librettist and broadcaster. She specialises in twentieth-century music and literature, the First World War, women’s composition and writing, object biography and illness narratives. Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691212784/dweller-in-shadows was published by Princeton University Press in June 2021 to international critical acclaim. The result of many years of research, it will be the first biography to look at all aspects of the war poet / composer’s work, alongside his life from the trenches to a lunatic asylum. Kate is a Research Fellow in Life-Writing at Wolfson College, Oxford, and the Associate Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing which is an international centre for the discussion of biography, autobiography, and the many issues surrounding the ways in which we approach the narratives of lives. She has previously held research fellowships in both Music and English at the University of Cambridge. With Dame Hermione Lee as co-editor, Kate published Lives of Houses with Princeton University Press in 2020. A regular broadcaster on the BBC, particularly Radio 3, she appears on Music Matters, Proms Plus, Record Review, Building a Library, Essential Classics, Composer of the Week and The Essay. Her Sunday Feature documentaries have been selected for Pick of the Year by Radio 4, and she was awarded the Oxford Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Public Engagement with Research in 2017.