Born: Established: 1956 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Regarded as one of Australia's most prolific speculative fiction writers, Rick Kennett's science fiction and horror stories have appeared in a wide array of Australian and international magazines and anthologies. He best known for his ghost narratives, however, and in particular for his 'Ernie Pine' stories, about a motorbike-riding 'reluctant ghost-hunter.' Indeed, while other Australian authors, notably Rob Hood and Terry Dowling are also well-known for writing in this genre, Kennett is 'really the one Australian writer to have produced a substantial body of work in the ghost-story field' (Paulsen and McMullen, p. 316)
Born and raised in Melbourne, Kennett was educated at Kensington Primary School (1962-67), Essendon Technical School (1968) and Williamstown Technical School (1968-71). Although he completed an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner between 1972 and 1975, from 1976 onwards he mostly worked as a motorcycle courier in Melbourne. A keen fan of horror and science fiction during his youth Kennett eventually tried his hand at writing and had his first short story, "Troublesome Green," published in 1979. Two years later Melbourne community radio station 3CR broadcast twelve of his tales as part of a season of radio drama.
Although Kennett published his first novel, A Warrior's Star in 1982, it was not until 1997 that his second novel, Abracadabra appeared. During the intervening years he published a collection of his own short stories, The Reluctant Ghost-Hunter (1991), and had other stories appear in such magazines and journals as LiNQ (Literature in North Queensland), Aurealis, Eidolon, Antipodean SF, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Terror Australis. He was also an early contributor to the Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine.
Kennett's stories have also been published in such anthologies as Terror Australis: Best Australian Horror (1993), The Lottery: Nine Science Fiction Stories (1994), Strange Fruit: Tales of the Unexpected (1995), The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twelfth Annual Collection (1999), Stalking Midnight (2001), The Red Planet (2002), Agog! Fantastic Fiction: 29 Tales of Fantasy, Imagaination and Wonder (2002), Tales to Freeze the Blood (2006) and Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes (2008). In 2001 Kennett also published 13: A Collection of Short Stories.
During his writing career Kennett has collaborated on horror stories with other Australian such as Barry Radburn, Paul Collins, Chico Kidd and Bryce J. Stevens. In addition to his writing career Kennett also acted as editorial assistant for Australian SF Writers News between 1992 and 1994.
A number of Rick Kennett's stories have been printed multiple times.
Steven Paulsen and Sean McMullen note that Kennett has on occasion crossed genre boundaries with interesting and often successful results. '"The Battle of Leila the Dog," "Kindred Spirits," and "On Sherman's Planet",' they write, 'are all science fiction stories on the one hand and ghost stories on the other' (p. 316).