Media & News:
Kennedy’s fourth novel speaks of personal quest through return coach tour
Francis Racine – Published on: December 18, 2019 – Standard Freeholder
The work, which took the writer about one and a half years to complete, revolves around Sophie Szarvas’ trip to eastern Europe aboard a coach tour, the same trip she had previously taken with her father 20 years earlier.
“I want people to know that this story isn’t about me,” said the author before the small crowd gathered. “It’s what I call plausible fiction. It’s a creative trek through places with which I am somewhat familiar.”
The backdrop for the novel — set in eastern Europe, is familiar to Kennedy. She, along with her parents, escaped Hungary as refugees on Christmas Eve 1957. The subsequent travel that brought the family out of European country resulted in the author swearing off ships.
“I have a need to be on solid grounds, having spent 12 horrendous days on a ship’s last voyage in 1957,” she said.
This then lead Kennedy to travel aboard trains, which lead to the inspiration for Crossing the Threshold.
“My husband, the late Rev. Duncan Kennedy and I, began to take coach tours in the early 1970s, early on in our marriage,” she said. “We had limited funds and we also had limited vacation time. Coach tours became a wonderful way to take holidays. That meant spend all our time together. They became a very exciting way to be together.”
Even after her husband’s passing in 2006, Kennedy continued to undertake coach trips.
“It continued to be my way of exploring new places and returning to memorable ones,” she said.
It therefore did not come as a surprise her most recent novel focused on a coach trip.
“It is not simple a travel story,” Kennedy said, “but also a personal quest. Through Sophie’s mystical experiences and relationships with her fellow sojourners, including with the enigmatic John, she hopes to resolve the doubts about her past and her possible future.”
New book from Katalin Kennedy Echoes of Footsteps
Published on September 17, 2016
CORNWALL, Ontario – Katalin Kennedy launched her third book, Echoes of Footsteps, at the Cornwall Library on Saturday, September 17.
The book is a mix of true stories, poetry and fiction.
The first part of the book is a narrative about Kennedy’s childhood and how her and her family escaped Hungary and the Soviet crackdown that followed the 1956 uprising.
The second part of Echoes is a collection of poetry and the third part are stories that are a mix of fact and fiction.
One story from the third part of the book she shared at the book launch was about a beloved king, captured and imprisoned in a village. When the king was released he gave two small treasures he had with him in his cell to a young man who was kind to him.
When Kennedy’s father was imprisoned by the Soviets before their escape he wrote and bound two small books he hid in his cell. One book was dedicated to Kennedy and the other to her mother.
In Echoes Kennedy also shares stories from her friends in Cornwall, including some from her time writing with Seaway News and from her friend, Councillor Bernadette Clement.
Kennedy was a long-time contributor to Seaway News and has lived in Cornwall for thirteen years.
From Seaway News, June 08, 2015
Former Seaway News columnist, Katalin Kennedy, pens her second novel, Reconnecting.
CORNWALL, Ontario – “I had forgotten that I used to write,” said the eloquent Katalin Kennedy, who had, for several decades, put her passion for words aside. “I wrote when I was younger; I wrote poetry through high school and university.”
Kennedy has certainly made up for lost time, with the release of her second novel in just a few years, Reconnecting, to be launched next Saturday, at the Cornwall Public Library.
She said that she started writing again, after her retirement from the federal government, because she felt left “out of the loop.” After joining “every group in Cornwall” and happy that she did, having met some great people, still felt something was missing.
“I didn’t know what the heck my passion was and as I looked back, I realized that it was in writing.”
So, on the advice of a friend, she submitted some articles to the Seaway News and within days, Rick Shaver, the paper’s publisher, offered her a monthly column, which she wrote for 10 years.
Writing a novel was the eventual direction of her path.
“I thought, give it a try and it worked, interestingly, told through articles, using the method used as a columnist,” she said of her first effort, The Women Gather, published in 2012.
Three years later, Reconnecting tells the story of Marlie, a writer, and three friends. All older and alone, they have decided that they a going to live together in Ottawa in the same condo complex. Each is very secretive about their background, but as their friendships evolve and develop, they gradually start to tell their stories.
“I would say that it isn’t about me, but a lot about my emotions, tiny snippets of experience” said Kennedy about her inspiration for the book. “There are snippets of people I know in them.”
Did she finally find her passion, in writing? … a resounding “yes.”
“That was it. I did find the passion and I found that it wasn’t so much in the getting to the end, but it was the doing it that was giving me all the satisfaction. That is where my joy is.”
Reconnecting, by Katalin Kennedy, available from Baico Publishing Inc., Ottawa, is making its debut on Saturday, June 13, 2 pm, at The Cornwall Public Library. Visit www.katalinkennedy.com, for more information.
May 20, 2013 – Literary Diva Interview on Blog Talk Radio – “The Women Gather”:
Interview with Author Katalin Kennedy by Lorna Forman
CFN – “The Women Gather” by author, Katalin Kennedy is a learning journey that readers can identify with. I found it absolutely fascinating and uplifting. Starting in the late 1990s, “The Women Gather” journals the phases our society has gone through, the problems and resistance encountered and projects our world into the year 2066. It shows that there is a positive, potential future for all of us, men and women alike.
“I was a long standing fan of Margaret Atwood in my English Literature days at Carleton University in Ottawa.” Katalin told me. “I had been immersed in Twentieth Century Literature and the endings were so negative – they didn’t give me hope.”
Katalin’s career included managing major national projects as Program Consultant on Seniors’ and Women’s Issues with Health Canada’s Family Violence Prevention Program.
“I was exposed to the negativity and what their lives were all about – a sense of hopelessness prevailed.” Katalin explained. “Even the films reflected that. Is that what we are about? I don’t accept that we need to be dark and disillusioned.”
Katalin’s positive attitude is not surprising. She and her family escaped Hungary in 1956 and landed in Saint John, New Brunswick. She now lives in Cornwall and writes a monthly Kindness column for The Seaway News.
“The Women Gather”, reflects author, Katalin Kennedy’s passion to put forth her belief that the world can, indeed, create a more positive future.
“The Women Gather” takes place in Lemuria, Ontario, at a teaching retreat for women, which originator Nora Fényes-Bryson created to provide a safe haven for women to rediscover their true selves and make the world a better place. The Norean Order spread throughout the world and women from these wide spread Sanctuaries are now attending the “Gathering” Symposium in the year 2066 to report and share their journey. The Norean Order addresses society – each person has their own struggle, yet feels there is hope.
“I started writing it in 2005 and essentially finished it in 2008.” Katalin explained. “Because I was doing hundreds of other things, writing was what I needed to do but a personal life situation made it difficult – I had to find a way to get back into the stream of it.”
Katalin feels that the delay was a positive thing as the years and other experiences , brought new bits to it allowing the characters to evolve to a deeper level.
“I had set up a strong plan so I knew where I was going but over time they – the characters – became more dimensional – more individuals and, oddly enough, real people in my mind.” Katalin said. Because the characters changed I had to shift the ending.
It is a book filled with symbolism. One particular image is a white stag.
“The white stag reminds me of the Unicorn, an image from my Hungarian background.” Katalin went on to explain how the Unicorn played a role in her life from her University days when she studied Comparative Religion. “ It seemed right to include it.”
“When I had finished writing, I felt that I had lost a best friend.” Katalin told me. “I wanted that friend back but of course, the next step was to publish it.”
“I am trying hard to step away from how it will be received – although it does make me wonder how it will be received.” Katalin said with a laugh. “It will take on a life of its own – that is the joy. There is so much in the book and each person will find their own lesson. Even as a superficial reader there is a point where it has to grab you to give you a message.”
Personally, I have read the book three times and each time found yet another level of understanding.
“This is not autobiographical.” Katalin pointed out to me. “My emotions and experiences are in there – after all you write about what you know, even if it is empathetic.”
Katalin is hosting her Book Launch on Saturday, July 21st at The Cornwall Public Library. It will be in the Program Room on the second floor between 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
Federal retiree gathers women to solve problems
By Cheryl Brink, Cornwall Standard Freeholder ~ Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:58:31 EDT PM
The Cornwall resident is launching her debut tome this weekend, seven years after she first began formulating the idea.
“It was my first attempt at writing a complete novel,” she said. “I tackled something bigger than things I had been writing before.”
Kennedy moved to Cornwall in 2003 after retiring from the federal government, and began looking for new ways to fill her time.
“I had to reinvent myself and find out what was my passion,” she said.
She said she was inspired to write the Women Gather after years of being surrounded by negative outlooks on the future.
“I really don’t see life that way and I really needed to address it,” she said.
Kennedy said plenty of her experiences as a public servant dealing with seniors issues and violence prevention were factors as she begin penning the story.
The focus, as the title implies, is on the role of women in a future society.
“As much as we’ve come such a long way, there’s still so many areas that are not open to us in the same way,” said Kennedy. “How do the young women of today fit into the balance of being contributors on an equal footing?”
She said politics is one example of a sector still dominated by males.
Her book is set in 2066, but intertwines flashbacks with the main story line: a conference of women determined to find ways to improve the world.
Kennedy said the plot didn’t take long to formulate, but the writing process was lengthy.
“I was just going back and forth to it,” she said. “It was one of those things, I really didn’t want to get to the end.”
She said she finally understands when other writers talk about their characters taking on a life of their won.
“I had a plan,” said Kennedy. “But I loved the story and how it evolved.”
She wrapped up the book in 2008, but spent another couple of years working to have it printed before Ottawa-based Baico Publishing Inc. picked it up. A couple of local artists helped her with cover art and layout.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said.
With 300 books already off the press, Kennedy is hoping to bring some copies to shops around Cornwall. It will also be available at Chapters and through Baico.
“I just want it to be accessible,” she said. “I would love the world to see it.”
Kennedy said Baico has inquired about a sequel to the Women Gather, but she’s already started to work on a different story.
“It’s probably going to be about women as well,” she said. “My message is positive; I have strong hope for humanity.”
Kennedy will be talking about her first novel at the Cornwall Public Library on Saturday, and also doing a brief reading before signing copies.