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Ann Kennedy Smith

College positions:
Fellow Commoner
Literature & history of women at Cambridge
Independent scholar

Dr Ann Kennedy Smith

Ann Kennedy Smith is a writer, researcher, and literary critic.

She grew up in Ballycastle, County Antrim and gained her first degree in French and German (joint honours) at Trinity College Dublin. She began her studies at Queens’ College Cambridge in 1985, and received her PhD on Charles Baudelaire’s art criticism in 1990. She then worked as a dictionary editor at Cambridge University Press as part of the team who created the first Cambridge International Dictionary of English, and later taught literature and art history at the Workers’ Educational Association and the Institute of Continuing Education at University of Cambridge.

Her monograph, Painted Poetry, was published in 2011, and she began her research into 19th century French translations and literary reviews of Tennyson’s poetry. In 2015 she was awarded her Masters in Creative Writing with distinction at UEA, and her book proposal on Cambridge women was shortlisted for the Biographers’ Club Elizabeth Buccleuch Prize. She has continued her research into the first generation of women students, lecturers and academic wives at Cambridge, and in 2021 was awarded a Women’s History Network Independent Researcher award.

Her essays and reviews have been published in the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Slightly Foxed magazine, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Journal of Victorian Culture, English Review and History Today. She has given lectures for Cambridge University Library, Literature Cambridge (with Dr Trudi Tate) and Cambridge alumni associations, and in January 2023 she was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Freethinking’ programme, talking about women in higher education. She is currently working on a book about the Cambridge Ladies’ Dining Society 1890-1914. She is a member of Clare Hall Art Committee.

Select publications

  • Painted Poetry: Colour in Baudelaire’s Art Criticism (Peter Lang, 2011)
  • ‘Tennyson seen from there: Enoch Arden’s French reception’ in The Tennyson Research Bulletin November 2014
  • ‘Tennyson’s French Reception’ in The Reception of Alfred Tennyson in Europe, ed. Leonée Ormond (Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • ‘Room with a view’ Times Literary Supplement (28 July 2017)
  • ‘The Lessons of Shell Shock’ in History Today (September 2020)
  • ‘Connecting threads’: afterword for Gertrude Trevelyan’s William’s Wife (Boiler House Press, 2023)

Select awards

  • Women’s History Network Independent Researcher award 2021-22
  • UEA Biography and Creative Non Fiction M.A. Scholarship, 2014-15
  • Jebb Fund Studentship, University of Cambridge, 1988
  • French Government Prize, Trinity College Dublin, 1985

Further links