Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Open Book Special Series: Toronto Street Writers - Jenna Anne Kennedy

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Jenna Anne Kennedy

The Toronto Street Writers program is an initiative headed by author Emily Pohl-Weary which brings together talented young writers from different walks of life. The group meets weekly, ten months out of the year.

On July 1, the Toronto Street Writers will be launching their 2012 anthology, West of What We Know. You can find event details here — the launch is open to the public, with readings from some of the city's rising literary stars.

As a celebration of the anthology, Open Book: Toronto is proud to host a special series of interviews with several of the contributing writers. Today we speak with Jenna Anne Kennedy, one of the talented young writers featured in West of What We Know. You can also check out our interviews with Jenna's fellow Toronto Street Writers Krystle McKenzie and Richard Chang.


Open Book:

What drew you to the Toronto Street Writers program?

Jenna Anne Kennedy:

I was in the library in Parkdale, where I had just moved into my own place. I saw a flyer for the program, which was happening downstairs at that moment. The words “young writers” really drew me in, not to mention perfect timing! Great way to be welcomed into the neighborhood.


Was there anything about the program that surprised you once you were a part of it?


What really surprised me was the sense of trust the writers gave to each other. Right off the bat, I felt like I could share anything without any judgment. Oh and the never-ending supply of great coffee!


Tell us a bit about a piece of writing you've created during the program that you're proud of.


I tried writing a graphic novel this year, and that was something I never imagined I would be good at. I played around with my own illustrations to stories and poems and really surprised myself. I'm quite happy with some of that work because it was completely foreign to me.


Who are one or two of your favourite authors or poets?


I'm a huge fan of Sam Shepard's plays and film scripts at the moment. His work is poetic and hauntingly sexy, which I was instantly drawn to. I also like his plays about family, a theme I have been trying to write about all year.


What are some of your goals or dreams when it comes to writing?


I'd love to write, act in and help direct my own film before I die. Oh, and I want my audience to feel like I have given them a bit of truth — that would be awesome.

Jenna Anne Kennedy is a member of the Toronto Street Writers group. Her work will be included in the 2012 anthology West of What We Know.

For more information about West of What We Know please visit the Toronto Street Writers website.

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