Author Ian Kennedy-Smith now calls Tasmania home

Launceston is a reminder of home, for author Ian Kennedy-Williams. 

Born in the UK, Kennedy-Williams came to Australia as one of the last “10 pound poms” in the 70s. 

“I didn’t particularly come out to stay. The brief was that you had to stay for two years otherwise you had to pay the full price of the fare,” he said. 

“At the end of that two years I was enjoying myself. So I did another trip up around Darwin and went back to Melbourne where I’d spent most of the time and I got a job where Liz was working.

“We got together and we’ve been together ever since.”

The pair have divide their time since in Grafton and Brisbane.

They lived in Grafton for 20 years and Brisbane for 10, but have now found home in Launceston. The duo have been in the state for about nine years. 

“When we were in Queensland, I had the opportunity to do a masters course at the Queensland University of Technology, it was a cohort program as part of the creative industries program,” he said.  

“There was about 10 of us that all had some sort of writing experience and the brief was basically to write a commercially viable play.”

It was during this time, Kennedy-Williams met Tasmanian Stephanie Briarwood. 

“She grew up here and was a playwright and after the course finished she came back here to live. We used it as an opportunity to come and visit in about 2006, with no particular intentions,” he said.

“It was April so it was pretty terrible weather, but there was just something about the place that appealed. We went back to Brisbane, and the following year Liz’s mum died. That really cut any personal ties we had in Brisbane.”

After about 20 years in Grafton and the sub-tropics, the pair were “fed up” with the weather. 

“We thought we’d like it down here and spent three days here in Launceston and bought a house,” he said. 

His books even have Tassie influences. One is about a Tasmanian couple in the UK, and another is set in Launceston. 

“I wrote it with Launceston in mind, but it’s not actually mentioned. Anyone from here who read the story would see the reference though,” he said. 

Kennedy-Smith said Launceston was “particularly” like where he grew up. 

He said Tasmania was like a homecoming for him, with his arrival giving him a sense of belonging. 

“It’s got that same sort of historical character that Launceston has. A lot of the appeal is that they’re almost like sister cities,” he said. 

“There is a poem by Robert Frost that says ‘home is the place that when you go there they have to take you in.

“You make you home where ever you go. We’ve made our home.”