Des Kennedy is a celebrated public speaker, having performed at numerous conferences, schools, festivals, botanical gardens, art galleries, garden shows and wilderness gatherings in Canada and the U.S. His humour, irreverence and passion for gardening and the natural world have made him a 'must see' speaker in demand across the country.
An award-winning journalist, broadcaster, author and environmental activist, Des Kennedy has lived for the past 33 years on one of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, and for the past 25 years has contributed feature articles on environmental issues, gardening and rural living to a wide variety of publications in Canada and the United States. For six years he wrote a gardening column for The Globe and Mail national newspaper, and was a weekly columnist on the national CBC television program Midday. The gardens he and his partner Sandy have created on their island acreage have been featured in numerous books, magazines and calendars.
Kennedy is the author of three books of essays and two novels. The Globe and Mail described his first book, Living Things We Love to Hate, as 'a howlingly funny, unbearably enlightening, relentlessly fascinating and endearingly charming collection of essays.' About the second book, Crazy About Gardening, the prestigious American magazine Horticulture wrote: 'It is a rare delight to discover a compelling new voice in garden writing, and Kennedy’’s is a fascinating one.' Crazy About Gardening was short-listed for the 1995 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
Kennedy published his first novel, The Garden Club, in 1996, which was shortlisted for the 1997 Leacock Medal. Author Jane Rule describes it as 'rich with local legends, yarns, gossip, political controversy all contained in the seasonal rhythms of rural life. A beautifully written, funny, hopeful book.' His latest gardening book, An Ecology of Enchantment: A Year in a Country Garden was released by HarperCollins in the spring of 1998. In reviewing the book, The Globe and Mail stated: 'With An Ecology of Enchantment Des Kennedy proves himself one of the best gardening writers in Canada.' Maclean’’s magazine featured the book saying it showed 'Kennedy at his contemplative best.' In his syndicated column, Allan Fotheringham described Kennedy as 'the Dennis Rodman of gardening' who 'writes like a dream.'
His second novel, Flame of Separation, was released by Insomniac Press in spring 04. The Globe and Mail praised the novel's "vivid imagery," and its "unfolding of a human mystery that has plenty of pleasing twists and turns" and eventually presents "something more subtle yet perfectly in line with Kennedy's theme of the extraordinary dwelling within the mundane." The Vancouver Sun called it "a gem of a book" that exhibits "power and grace" and "an open-hearted novel the likes of which are too rarely seen." He has just completed his third novel as well as a compilation of his gardening satires.
Des was the host and co-writer of a documentary mini-series titled Reinventing the World, broadcast on Vision TV. The series featured five one-hour documentaries on Food, Work, Economics and Sustainable Cities and included interviews with leading thinkers on these topics from Canada, the U.S. and Brazil. A subsequent television series, Finding the Future, consisting of 13 half-hour programs in each of which Des interviewed a celebrated thinker/activist, was also broadcast on Vision TV. Des’s one-hour documentary of Living Things We Love to Hate, based on his book of the same name, was broadcast on Discovery TV. And he was featured in a gardener’s profile on Home & Garden TV’s "Recreating Eden" series.
As well, Des Kennedy has been active for many years in environmental and social justice issues, including co-organizing the civil disobedience campaign in British Columbia’’s Strathcona Provincial Park in 1988 and getting arrested at Clayoquot Sound in 1993. He worked for several years in the 70s and early 80s as a land claim consultant for two native bands in B.C. He is a founding director of a community land trust on Denman Island.
Des has hosted two tours of the gardens of Ireland and New Zealand.
Speaking Bookings can be arranged by contacting Des Kennedy directly at: 1670 Pickles Road Denman Island, B.C. Canada, V0R 1T0 Ph: 250 335-0400