Penn Kemp

A performance poet, activist and playwright, Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets' 2015 Spoken Word artist of the year ( and their 40th Life Member. Her latest works are two anthologies: Performing Women and Women and Multimedia. Forthcoming is a new collection of poetry, Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quattro Books) as well as a play, The Triumph of Teresa Harris. She was Creative Age London's Writer-in-Residence in 2015. She also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for service to arts and culture. Her most recent work is THE DREAM LIFE OF TERESA HARRIS and Jack Layton Art in Action, which she edited for Quattro Books, Toronto. 

She has been giving creativity workshops, teaching and performing her poetry since 1966. As the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of London (2010-12), she presented poetry at many civic functions. As Canada Council Writer-in-Residence for Western University for 2009-10, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, Pendas Productions. Penn has published twenty-five books of poetry and drama, had six plays and ten CDs produced as well as several award-winning videopoems. Since her first book was published by Coach House Press in 1972, she has been pushing textual and aural boundaries, often in participatory performance work. Many of her recent CDs are what Penn terms "Sound Operas": poetic narratives that weave sound, imagery and music in the counterpoint of many voices Having performed in festivals around the world, most recently in Britain, Brazil and India, Penn lives in London, where she edits poetry for Pendas Productions. Penn has been heralded by the Writers’ Union as a “one woman literary industry”.

Related Events

Penn Kemp & Madeline Bassnett: In Conversation with Manina Jones

November 6, 2016 at 10:00am

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