Robert Kenny i(86 works by) (a.k.a. Robert John Kenny)
Born: Established: 1952 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Robert Kenny's employment history includes working as a clerk, chainman, builder's labourer, domestic and industrial cleaner, designer, lithographic camera operator and magazine editor. Associated with the experimental poetry scene based around Melbourne's La Mama Theatre and the "Generation of '68" poets, some of Kenny's early poems appeared in the 1970 anthology Australian Poetry Now. In the early 1970s he became active in small press literary publishing. With Michael Dugan and Philip Edmonds, he founded Contempa Publications, which published collections of poetry and prose as well as the magazine Contempa. Kenny also established the imprint Ragman Productions, and founded a small press, Rigmorale of the Hours, later Rigmorale Books (ca.1974­-1986), publishing poetry by Jennifer Maiden, Laurie Duggan, Kris Hemensley, Katherine Gallagher and Anna Couani, among others. With Colin Talbot, he edited the influential anthology Applestealers (1974). In the 1970s and 1980s he wrote several works experimenting with the conventions of detective and crime fiction, including A Book of Detection (1978), and The Last Adventures of Christian Doom, Private I (1982). More recently Kenny has built a successful career as a historian. He completed a PhD in History at Latrobe University in 2003, and his subsequent book The Lamb Enters the Dreaming: Nathanael Pepper and the Ruptured World (2007) won several prizes including the prestigious Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History (joint winner, 2008). In 2008 he returned to Latrobe University as an ARC post-doctoral research fellow.

Personal Awards

2010 Literature Board Grants Grants for Established Writers $30,000 for literary non-fiction writing.
2006 winner Peter Blazey Fellowship For his manuscript 'The Lamb Enters the Dreaming : Nathanael Pepper and the Ruptured World.'

Awards for Works

Gardens of Fire : An Investigative Memoir , 2013 single work autobiography

'The Black Saturday bushfires of 7 February 2009 were the most catastrophic in Australia’s history. One hundred and seventy three people lost their lives and over two thousand homes were destroyed.

'Award winning historian and writer Robert Kenny had a sound fire plan and he was prepared. But the reality of the fire was more ferocious and more unpredictable than he could have imagined. By the end of the day, his house and the life contained within were gone.

'Gardens of Fire extends his experience of being engulfed by flames to an investigation of the human relationship with fire. This extraordinary and compelling history explores European and Aboriginal mythologies of fire along with the pragmatics of the fire in the hearth.

'This is at once an intimate memoir and a meditative analysis of the reality that, as humans, we are children of fire.' (Publisher's blurb)

2014 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Nonfiction
The Lamb Enters the Dreaming : Nathanael Pepper and the Ruptured World , 2007 single work biography 'Traces the life of Nathanael Pepper of the Wotjobaluk people, who was born as the first pastoralists were driving cattle and sheep into Victoria's Wimmera region. In their wake came Christian missionaries, who were just as hostile to the settlers' violence as they were to the traditional beliefs of Aboriginal people. Nevertheless, Pepper converted to Christianity in 1860. The extraordinary story of Pepper's conversion, and his subsequent attempts to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable, reveals much about the deeper symbolic and moral forces at work in this collision of cultures. Robert Kenny challenges many orthodoxies in this profound reconsideration of how indigenous people and Europeans thought about each other. He traces Aboriginal attempts to accommodate the 'people of the sheep' and their pastoralist totem, Jesus, while arguing that it was European animals more than the settlers themselves that ruptured the Dreaming. On the European side, Kenny argues, increasingly powerful scientific and philosophical challenges undermined evangelical Christianity's belief that all humanity was of 'One Blood'. And behind it all lurked the spectre of slavery and the question of the moral order of imperialism. Brilliantly original in conception, and written with a rare lucidity and lightness of touch, The Lamb Enters the Dreaming is a detailed and sensitive exploration of a life, a meditation on the matter of culture and conversion, and a major reappraisal of the relations between Aboriginal and European societies in the first decades of contact in southern Australia.' (Back cover.)
2008 winner Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for a First Book of History
2008 winner W. K. Hancock prize
2008 joint-winner The Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History Prize shared with Tom Griffith's Slicing the Silence
The Last Adventures of Christian Doom, Private I , 1982 single work novel crime detective
1982 highly commended FAW ANA Literature Award