Kylie Tennant

Kathleen Kylie Tennant AO (/ˈkli/;[1] 12 March 1912 – 28 February 1988) was an Australian novelist, playwright, short-story writer, critic, biographer, and historian.

Kylie Tennant
Kylie Tennant, c.1945, (State Library of Queensland photograph)
Kylie Tennant, c.1945, (State Library of Queensland photograph)
BornKathleen Kylie Tennant
(1912-03-12)12 March 1912
Manly, New South Wales
Died28 February 1988(1988-02-28) (aged 75)
Sydney, New South Wales
Notable worksThe Battlers, All the Proud Tribesmen
Notable awardsALS Gold Medal 1942, Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers 1960
Years active1931–1988
SpouseL. C. Rodd, m. 1933

Early life and careerEdit

Tennant was born in Manly, New South Wales; she was educated at Brighton College in Manly and Sydney University, though she left without graduating. She was a publicity officer for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, as well as working as a journalist, union organiser, reviewer (for The Sydney Morning Herald), a publisher's literary adviser and editor, and a member of the Commonwealth Literary Fund advisory board. She married L. C. Rodd in 1933; they had two children (a daughter, Benison, in 1946 and a son, John Laurence, in 1951).

Her work was known for its well-researched, realistic, yet positive portrayals of the lives of the underprivileged in Australia. In a video interview filmed in 1986, three years before her death, for the Australia Council's Archival Film Series, Tennant told how she lived as the people she wrote about, travelling as an unemployed itinerant worker during the Depression years, living in Aboriginal communities and spending a short time in prison for research.[2][3]

Two of Tennant's novels, Battlers and Ride on Stranger, set in the 1930s, have been made into television mini-series.

After World War II, Tennant worked in this hut, in Crowdy Bay National Park

"Kylie's Hut", the author's retreat in Crowdy Bay, was destroyed during the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season.[4]




  • Tiburon (1935. Sydney: Endeavour Press) — first published in serial form in The Bulletin
  • Foveaux (1939. London: Gollancz; 1946. Sydney: Sirius)
  • The Battlers (1941. London: Gollancz; New York: Macmillan; 1945. Sydney: Sirius)
  • Time Enough Later (c.1942. New York: Macmillan; 1945. London: Macmillan). A humorous coming of age story about a young woman and her relationship with an artistic older man.
  • Ride on Stranger (1943. New York: Macmillan; London: Gollancz; Sydney: Angus & Robertson)
  • Lost Haven (1946. NY: Macmillan; Melbourne: Macmillan; London: Macmillan)
  • The Joyful Condemned (1953. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press)
  • The Honey Flow (1956. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press)
  • Tell Morning This (1967. Sydney: Angus & Robertson) — complete version of The Joyful Condemned
  • The Man on the Headland (1971. Sydney: Angus & Robertson)
  • Tantavallon (1983. Melbourne: Macmillan) ISBN 0-947072-02-0

Short storiesEdit

  • Ma Jones and Little White Cannibals (1967. London)

For childrenEdit

  • Long John Silver (1954. Sydney: Associated General Publications) — adapted from the screenplay by Martin Rackin
  • All the Proud Tribesmen (1959. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press; 1960. Melbourne: Macmillan) — illustrated by Clem Seale. Children's Book Award (1960)
  • Come and See: social studies for Third Grade (1960. Melbourne: Macmillan)
  • We Find the Way: social studies for Fourth Grade (1960. Melbourne: Macmillan)
  • Trail Blazers of the Air (1965. Melbourne: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press) — illustrated by Roderick Shaw


  • Modern Plays for Schools 3 (John o' the Forest, Lady Dorothy and the Pirates, The Willow Pattern Plate, The Laughing Girl, Christmas at the Old Shamrock Hotel) (1950. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press)
  • Tether a Dragon (1952. Sydney: Associated General Publications) — Commonwealth Jubilee Stage Play Prize
  • Modern Plays for Schools 15 (The Bells of the City, The Magic Fat Baby, The Prince Who Met a Dragon, The Ghost Tiger, Hamaguchi Goh Ei) (1955. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press)
  • The Bushrangers' Christmas Eve and other plays (The Tribe of the Honey Tree, The Ladies of the Guard, A Nativity Play, The Play of the Younger Son, The Emperor and the Nightingale) (1959. London: Macmillan; New York:St Martin's Press)

Biography and historyEdit

  • Australia: Her Story (1953. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press)
  • Speak You So Gently: Lives among the Australian Aborigines (1959. London: Gollancz) — about the Rev Alf Clint[7]
  • Evatt: Politics and justice (1970. Sydney: Angus & Robertson)
  • The Missing Heir (1986. Melbourne: Macmillan) — her autobiography


  • The Development of the Australian Novel (1958. Canberra: CLF)
  • (with L.C. Rodd) The Australian Essay (1968. Melbourne: Cheshire)


  1. ^ See Pronunciation of Kylie.
  2. ^ "Kylie Tennant (1986) – Documentary/Interview". Australian Screen. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  3. ^ Sage, Lorna; Germaine Greer; Elaine Showalter (1999). The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English. Cambridge University Press. p. 619. ISBN 0-521-66813-1. :Ride on Stranger Tennant.
  4. ^ Laura Telford (21 November 2019). "Bushfire in Crowdy Bay National Park destroys Kylie's Hut and precious coastal rainforest". Nambucca Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  5. ^ Creswell, Toby; Samantha Trenoweth (2006). 1001 Australians You Should Know. Pluto Press Australia. ISBN 1-86403-361-4.
  6. ^ "It's an Honour – Tennant, Kylie (Mrs Rodd)". Australian Government. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  7. ^ "Australian Dictionary of Biography: William Alfred Clint". Retrieved 8 November 2021.

External linksEdit