Fonds AFC 452 - Penn Kemp fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Penn Kemp fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

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Reference code

CA ON00353 AFC 452

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Edition statement

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1944 - 2018 (Creation)
    Kemp, Penn

Physical description area

Physical description

4.4 m of textual records
8 volumes of textual records
ca. 140 photographs : col.
37 photographs : b&w
52 photographs, reproductions
ca. 230 compact discs
38 DVDs
31 audio cassettes
12 videocassettes
5 computer disks ; 9 x 9 cm
1 compact disc ; 8 x 8) cm
6 CD-ROMs (photographs)
1 DVD-ROM (photographs)
71 posters
8 drawings

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1944 -)

Biographical history

Penn Kemp is a London, Ontario based poet, playwright, performer, editor, and educator.

Penn Kemp was born Patricia Penn Anne Kemp in Strathroy, Ontario on August 4, 1944. Raised in London, Ontario by parents, artist James (Jim) Kemp and Anne Kemp, Penn Kemp went on to complete a BA (Hon.) in English Language and Literature at the University of Western Ontario in 1966 and an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate at Althouse College in 1967. After graduating, Kemp taught English at high schools in Timmins and North York until 1970 when she began performing, giving readings, and leading creativity workshops. In 1988, Kemp completed a M.Ed. at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education with a thesis entitled "Invenio: The Source of a Biography in Mythology." After living in Toronto for many years, Kemp returned to London, Ontario in 2001 where she has since been active in the local literary community. In 2010, Kemp became the inaugural Poet Laureate for London.

Kemp has published over 30 volumes of poetry and drama both through her own company, Pendas Productions, and other publishers. A frequent collaborator, Kemp has also produced plays, CDs, videopoems, participatory performances, and "Sound Operas." Kemp has travelled to Europe, North Africa, Mexico, South America and India giving readings, performances, and workshops, with tours in India and Brazil through the Association of Canadian Studies with supported by Canada Council for the Arts. She served as The University of Western Ontario’s Writer-in-Residence for 2009-10 and has been the writer-in-residence in many communities in North America, India, and Scotland.

Kemp was awarded the League of Canadian Poets’ Life Membership Award in 2012 and the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for excellence and innovation in spoken word poetry in 2015. Kemp was also awarded a QEII Diamond Jubilee medal for service to arts and culture in London.

Kemp runs Pendas Productions with husband, Gavin Stairs. She has two children, Amanda and Jake Chalmers.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records illustrating Kemp’s career as a poet, playwright, performer and educator as well as the activities of Pendas Productions. It also contains personal materials. It includes personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts and drafts, proofs of publications and CDs/DVDs, recordings of performances in various audiovisual formats, photographs, posters, drawings, clippings, ephemera, publicity materials, and published material.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Penn Kemp in 2011, 2017, and 2018.


Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script note

      Material is predominantly in English, with some translations of poems into multiple languages.

      Location of originals

      Availability of other formats

      Restrictions on access

      Access to certain records is restricted. Requests for access must be made by submitting a Research Access Request.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Copyright held by the donor.

      Associated materials

      Penn Kemp's earlier records were donated to McGill University Archives. The last deposit was made in 2002.

      Related materials


      Further accruals are expected.

      General note

      Published material can be found in collections held by Western Libraries and the Affiliated College Libraries as well as Western Archives' Special Collections.

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