Hannah Kent

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Hannah Kent
Kent at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia, October 2016
Kent at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia, October 2016
Adelaide, South Australia
Alma materFlinders University
GenreLiterary fiction, historical fiction

Hannah Kent (born 1985) is an Australian writer, known for two novels – Burial Rites (2013) and The Good People (2016). Her third novel, Devotion, was published in 2021.

Early life and education[edit]

Kent was born in 1985 grew up in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.[1][2] She attended Heathfield High School in Heathfield.[1]

She earned a PhD in creative writing at Flinders University, her thesis being the basis of her first novel, Burial Rites.[1]


In 2010, Kent co-founded the Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings with Rebecca Starford.[3]

In 2011 Kent won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award for her novel Burial Rites.[4] Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a servant in northern Iceland who was condemned to death after the murder of two men, one of whom was her employer, and became the last woman put to death in Iceland.[5] Kent was drawn to the idea of writing her story after a visit to the scene of the woman's execution at Þrístapar, close to where she stayed for some time as a Rotary exchange student when she was 18.[6] The novel crafts a more ambiguous, sympathetic image of the life of a woman widely regarded in popular opinion to have been "an inhumane witch, stirring up murder".[7] Burial Rites went on to be translated into thirty languages and in 2017 it was confirmed that Jennifer Lawrence would play the role of Agnes Magnúsdóttir in a film adaptation.[8] A documentary about Kent's experiences in Iceland and writing Burial Rites was aired on the ABC TV as an episode of Australian Story titled "No More Than a Ghost", on 1 July 2013.[9]

Kent's second novel,The Good People, was published in 2016. Set in Ireland's County Kerry in 1825, it is the story of widow's struggle to find a cure for her grandson who has been struck down by a mysterious inability to speak and who is feared by others in this superstitious community as a changeling.[10] The novel takes inspiration from the case of the death of Michael Leahy.[11] It was translated into ten languages and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Award for Historical Fiction (UK) 2017. Aquarius Films will adapt The Good People for screen.[12]

In 2020 it was announced that Elisabeth Moss would star in Kent's screenwriting debut, Run Rabbit Run, and Daina Reid would direct the film.[13] On 2 December 2021, Sarah Snook replaced Moss as the star.[14][15]

Her third novel, Devotion, set in a fictionalised version of the Adelaide Hills town of Hahndorf, is an historical love story between two young Lutheran women set in the 1830s, "unfurling in a time that doesn't have the language for it".[16] The novel takes place in their Prussian homeland and the new colony of South Australia.[2]

Awards and honours[edit]

Burial Rites[edit]

The Good People[edit]

  • Shortlisted for the University of Queensland Fiction Book Award 2017[35]
  • Shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2017[36]
  • Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Award for Historical Fiction (UK) 2017
  • Shortlisted for the Indie Books Award for Literary Fiction 2017[37]
  • Shortlisted for the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award 2017[38]


  • Shortlisted for the Indie Books Award for Fiction 2022[39]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2021 Kent lives in the Adelaide Hills with her wife, Heidi, and their two young children.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Bogle, Deborah (18 April 2013). "Light in the dark". The Advertiser. Retrieved 4 November 2020. Kent has just turned 28.
  2. ^ a b c Reich, Hannah (21 November 2021). "Hannah Kent veers away from the strict historical accuracy of Burial Rites to craft Devotion, a queer romance" (Text + audio). ABC News. Radio National: The Book Show. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  3. ^ "About KYD". Kill Your Darlings. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  4. ^ 'Monday musings on Australian literature: Unpublished manuscript awards,' Whispering Gums 13 March 2014.
  5. ^ Kent, Hannah 'Keep Calm and Carry On: An Unexpected Path to Publication', Kill Your Darlings, Issue 13 (April 2013)
  6. ^ Cassie Mercer, 'Cup of Tea With Hanna Kent, Author of the Burial Rites,' Inside History Magazine 30 October 2013
  7. ^ Hannah Kent, Burial Rites (2013) Picador ed. 2015 p.335.
  8. ^ "Jennifer Lawrence's New Movie 'Burial Rites' Sounds Killer". Fan Fest | For Fans, By Fans. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  9. ^ 'No More Than A Ghost – Transcript,' Australian Story, ABC TV, 1 July 2013
  10. ^ The Good People Pan McMillan
  11. ^ Kent, Hannah. "How Much Actual History Do You Need for a Historical Novel? Hannah Kent on Searching for the Life of Her Main Character". lithub.com. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  12. ^ Grater, Tom (6 February 2020). "'Lion' & 'Dirt Music' Producer Aquarius Films Hires Rachel Okine As Managing Director". Deadline. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Elisabeth Moss to play the lead in Daina Reid's 'Run Rabbit Run'". IF Magazine. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  14. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (2 December 2021). "'Succession' Star Sarah Snook Takes Over From Elizabeth Moss in Horror Movie 'Run Rabbit Run'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  15. ^ Run Rabbit Run at IMDb
  16. ^ Dewey, Imogen (4 November 2021). "Devotion by Hannah Kent review – historic queer love story overwhelmed by solemn ecstasy". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "critiquesLibres.com : critiques de livres". www.critiqueslibres.com (in French). Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  18. ^ "2014 Australian Book Industry Awards announced in Sydney". abiawards.com.au. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Davitt Awards 2014 shortlist". Angela Savage. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  20. ^ "ABA Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award 2015 shortlist announced – Books+Publishing". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Booktopia wins Best Online Retailer at the 2014 Australian Book Industry Awards – The Booktopian". The Booktopian. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  22. ^ "FAW Awards 2013 winners announced – Books+Publishing". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  23. ^ "2014 Indies Choice, E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Finalists". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2014". The Wheeler Centre. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  25. ^ Morris, Linda (13 May 2014). "Best Young Australian Novelists chosen in SMH writers' awards". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  26. ^ "2015 Shortlist | International DUBLIN Literary Award". www.dublinliteraryaward.ie. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Shortlist for inaugural Voss Literary Prize announced – Books+Publishing". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  28. ^ "National Book Foundation, Presenter of the National Book Awards, www.nationalbook.org". www.nationalbook.org. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Shortlist 2014 · The Stella Prize". The Stella Prize. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  30. ^ "The Baileys women's prize for fiction 2014 shortlist". www.readings.com.au. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2014". The Wheeler Centre. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  32. ^ https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/static/new/files/newsitefiles/2014-ALS-Gold-Medal-Judges-Report-2014.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  33. ^ "Burial Rites by Hannah Kent". the Guardian. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  34. ^ Council, Waverley. "Long List 2013". www.waverley.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  35. ^ jurisdiction=Queensland, corporateName=State Library of Queensland. "2017 shortlists". www.qldliteraryawards.org.au. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  36. ^ "The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction shortlist 2017 by Gabrielle Williams". www.readings.com.au. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  37. ^ "Indie Book Awards". Indie Book Awards. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  38. ^ "The ABIA 2017 Shortlist! – Australian Book Industry Awards". abiawards.com.au. Archived from the original on 13 May 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  39. ^ "Indie Book Awards 2022 shortlists announced". Books+Publishing. Retrieved 26 January 2022.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]