Lynn Jenner is an author whose form traverses multiple disciplines. Jenner is drawn to people’s stories and the preservation of the past. Her interest lies in how the form of a piece of writing can embody the subject that it describes. The form is just as important to Jenner as the content of a piece of writing. Jenner is the author of Dear Sweet Harry (Auckland University Press, 2015) and Lost and Gone Away (Auckland University Press, 2015) and Peat (Otago University Press, July 2019).
Lynn Jenner is a New Zealand writer whose work traverses multiple forms of writing such as creative non-fiction, and poetry. Jenner is drawn to stories of people’s experiences, and considers the preservation of the past, particularly the recent past, as a political act. Jenner brings a personal approach to investigating the subjects that she would like to explore and understand.
Jenner attended a number of schools around New Zealand before finishing high school in Dunedin. She then went on to study at the University of Otago and completed a Bachelor of Arts, and a Diploma in Teaching. Jenner taught for two years, and then returned to tertiary study to train as an Educational Psychologist from 1978-1980.
In 2004 Jenner began her education to become a writer at Whitirea where she completed a Diploma in Creative Writing. In 2013 she completed a PhD at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. Although she left her psychology practice to build a career as a writer, the psychologist in her has not gone away completely.
Jenner explores the complexities of the world through her writing, gathering information from a variety of sources in an attempt to perceive a subject. Her interest lies in how the form of a piece of writing can embody the subject that it describes. The form is just as important to Jenner as the content of a piece of writing.
Jenner is also a teacher of writing, and is deeply interested in what helps people learn to write. This was the motivation behind her research project Opportunity and Uncertainty: Supervisors, examiners and graduates describe the Critical/Creative Nexus in practice in the Creative Writing PhD at the International Institute of Modern Letters.
Jenner’s four-part work Lost and Gone Away (Auckland University Press, 2015) was adapted from her PhD. It is a hybrid of memoir, creative non-fiction, and poetry. In this book Jenner considers the effects of loss. spanning across subjects such as love, literature, and community. Jenner explores the effects of the Christchurch earthquake, and the Holocaust in this work. Jenner's writing about these subjects is an effort to communicate her own act of searching. Lost and Gone Away was shortlisted in the non-fiction category of the Ockham Book Awards in 2016.
Dear Sweet Harry is a mixed genre book of poetry, prose poems and found text, published by Auckland University Press 2010. Dear Sweet Harry is Lynn Jenner’s first collection and combines her family history with artefacts from the past and famous deceivers, such as Harry Houdini. Through this compilation, Jenner achieved a collection that spans across place and time. Jenner received the Adam Prize for Creative Writing in 2008 for her M.A manuscript for this work and in 2010 she was awarded the Jessie McKay Prize for Best First Book of Poetry in the New Zealand Post Book Awards.
Peat, Jenner’s third book, a collection of essays and glossaries about Charles Brasch and the construction of the Kāpiti Expressway, will be published by Otago University Press in July 2019.
Lynn Jenner's website
Thinking About Waves in Griffith Review 43: Pacific Highways, Lloyd Jones and Julianne Schultz (eds.) 2014, available on Griffith Review 43: Pacific Highways
Opportunity and Uncertainty: Supervisors, examiners and graduates describe the Critical/Creative Nexus in practice in the Creative Writing PhD at the International Institute of Modern Letters published in Victoria University Research Archive, 2017.
Updated April 2019.