Margaret Kennedy Day is Coming

A year or two ago, at my old home on the internet, and around the time a number of her novels were reissued, we had a lovely celebration of the literary legacy of Margaret Kennedy.

Audrey read ‘The Ladies of Lyndon’ and said:

“When I read the wonderful opening sentence, I knew I was going to love this book. My second thought was that this could be Jane Austen, writing 100 years later.  But looking back, while there are some Jane-ish echoes here, there’s much more snark and bite.”

Ali read ‘The Constant Nymph’ and said:

“I absolutely loved it, at once fully involving myself with the characters, as I became immersed in the world of ‘Sanger’s Circus’. I think Margaret Kennedy might be an author whose work I will have to read much more of.”

Kirsty read ‘Together and Apart’ and said:

“Kennedy discusses familial relationships and their breakdown throughout the novel ….. Together and Apart, even all these years later, is still an important novel, just as relevant to our society today as it was upon its publication.”

Kaggsy read ‘The Feast’ and said:

“Reading “The Feast” was a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience and I’m so glad I chose it. In fact, I think it will benefit from a re-read as I was so anxious to reach the conclusion that I’m sure there are many profound little bits I’ve missed.”

Lisa read ‘The Wild Swan’ and said:

I chose this one because I remembered it had something to do with a film production in a small town. As I discovered, that’s true, but it’s rather like saying ‘War and Peace’ has something to do with a battle “

And I could go on, but that was then and we need to talk about now.

Originally it was my intention to celebrate Margaret Kennedy – and a number of other authors – on their birthdays, but when I started to look I found that the birthdays of the authors that I had in mind were clustered together in small periods of time.

Margaret Kennedy’s birthday fell one day before the date shared by Anthony Trollope and Elizabeth Goudge; and I knew that Lory had a celebration planned for Elizabeth Goudge around that time and that April was quite busy with reading events. So that was out.

When I was looking at her biography and wondering what to do another date caught my eye – the date when she was married.

So this is your invitation to Margaret Kennedy Day on  Monday 2oth June 2016.

There’s no need to RSVP – though it would be lovely to know if you might come –  all you need to do is to read a Margaret Kennedy book between now and then, and post about it on the day!

Now, to practicalities.

We have a badge:

badge

We have a bibliography:

I couldn’t find one definitive source, but I’ve pulled a list together from a number of sources and I think I have pretty much everything that was published in book form.

All of the novels except the last one are in print; and most, but not all, of those titles are print-on-demand.

None of the others are, but, because Margaret Kennedy was hugely successful in the 1920s – and well regarded after that – libraries may well have copes tucked away and there should be used copies out there to be found.

Novels

The Ladies of Lyndon (1923)
The Constant Nymph (1924)
Red Sky at Morning (1927)
The Fool of the Family (1930) sequel to The Constant Nymph.
Return I Dare Not (1931)
A Long Time Ago (1932)
Together and Apart (1936)
The Midas Touch (1938)
The Feast (1950)
Lucy Carmichael (1951)
Troy Chimneys (1953)
The Oracles (US Title – Act of God)(1955)
The Wild Swan (previously published as The Heroes of Clone) (1957)
A Night in Cold Harbour (1960)
The Forgotten Smile (1961)
Not in the Calendar: The Story of a Friendship (1964)

Non Fiction

A Century of Revolution 1789-1920 (1922), history.
Where Stands a Winged Sentry (1941), wartime memoir.
The Mechanized Muse. P. E. N. series (1942), on the cinema.
Jane Austen. Novelists Series No. 1 (1950), biography/literary criticism.
The Outlaws on Parnassus. On the art of the novel (1958), literary criticism.

Shorter Fiction

A Long Week-End (1927), novella – published as a limited edition.
Dewdrops (1928), novella – published as a limited edition.
The Game and the Candle (1928), novella – published as a limited edition.
Women at Work (1966), two novellas – The Little Green Man and Three-Timer.

Plays

The Constant Nymph (1926), written with Basil Dean.
Come with Me (1928), written with Basil Dean.
Escape Me Never! (1934), a dramatisation of The Fool of the Family.
Autumn (1937), written with Gregory Ratoff.
Happy with Either (1948)

And there is one biography – The Constant Novelist by Violet Powell.

Her novels are quite diverse, so please don’t be put off of you don’t like the sound of one; there may well be another that you’ll love.

And, just is case I haven’t convinced you, here is a lovely piece by her granddaughter, novelist Serena Macksey.

I think that’s everything.

I do hope that you will find a book and be part of Margaret Kennedy Day.

Do tell me, and please ask is you have any questions at all.

36 thoughts on “Margaret Kennedy Day is Coming

  1. Yay! I read I think 3 or 4 of her works, thanks to you and this event. I think The Feast is my most favorite, but I loved all of them all. I am for sure joining the event…I just need to figure out what I am reading!

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  2. I am putting this on the calendar! I still have The Feast to read, and I’m waiting for my copy of The Midas Touch. And then there’s the joy of rereading!

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    1. I loved The Feast and I’m sure you will too. I couldn’t pick a favourite but it would definitely be a possibility if I did. I have a few books still to read, but when I’m done I’m planning to re-read in chronological order.

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  3. So glad this is back! I’ll be in the midst of dissertation time, but if I can source one of her books, I’ll do my best to review it! I have my eye on the novellas, but am finding that they’re rather rare (and quite expensive!).

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    1. I hope you can join in again – I’ve allowed a couple of months for people to find books, read and schedule something for the day – but of course I will understand if you can’t. And it’s lovely to see Margaret Kennedy posts on any day of the year!

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      1. I very much appreciate that! The only books of hers which my library carries are those which I have already read, so I’m going to try and seek out something new!

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      2. So pleased to hear it! I had planned to read all of the blurbs for her books and then choose, but something about it just grabbed me. I can’t wait for it to get here!

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  4. I’m not sure I’ll be able to join this one, Jane, as I don’t have any of Margaret Kennedy’s books in my TBR. Great idea, though – I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines. 🙂

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  5. How very nice to have a Margaret Kennedy read! I just picked up a copy of The Feast. I’m not always good about reading books at exactly the right time but I very much enjoyed The Ladies of Lyndon, and will try to remember to remember Margaret Kennedy Day.

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    1. I think that sometimes authors like Margaret Kennedy who are in print but unpromoted deserve a little celebration. I was very impressed by The Feast, I know others who thought as well of it, and I do hope that you’ll enjoy it too.

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  6. Ohh this sounds lovely & I have a couple of Lyndon’s on my TBR shelf…but I’ve just started a new book and it’s quite hefty…but I will see what I can do 🙂

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  7. Before this summer, “The Feast” was just a dusty, old book stashed away in an upstairs bookcase at my mother’s house. I was scrounging around for something to read during a recent visit and she handed it to me. “It’s a good story,” she said. What an understatement. It’s a spectacular story! I posted a review on my blog:
    http://www.libraryluggage.com/serving-up-a-great-summer-read/

    I’ve fallen in love with Kennedy as a writer. I look forward to reading more of her books and to reviews posted by others during your Margaret Kennedy Day.

    P.S. I’m new to blogging and don’t know if I’m participating correctly in this event. I’ll welcome any pointers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely find, and how wise your mother was to save that book. I fell in love with Margaret Kennedy’s writing and though her work is a little variable I have found something to love in every book. At first I thought they were all quite different, but I’m seeing common threads running through many of her books. I hope you will find and enjoy them too.

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