de Kooning's Paintbrush

Kerry Lee Powell

"These are beautiful stories. They will make you think and they will make you feel and they will always, always, reward your attention."

- Alexander Macleod,
author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Light Lifting

Kerry Lee Powell

Kerry Lee Powell was born in Montreal and has lived in Antigua, Australia, and the United Kingdom, where she studied Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cardiff University. Her work has appeared in The Spectator, the Boston Review, the Virago Press Writing Women series and Best Canadian Stories. In 2013, she won the Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award and the Boston Review’s Aura Estrada Short Story Award. Her work has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement and the Harvard Review, and she received a Pushcart Prize special mention in 2015.

Her debut poetry collection was published by Biblioasis Press in 2014, and was nominated for the Gerald Lampert award and the Alfred Bailey manuscript prize. Her short fiction collection, Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush, was published by HarperCollins in 2016. She is the series editor of Grey Suit, a London-based contemporary visual arts archive and press funded by the The Elephant Trust and the Arts Council of England.


Shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, poems from Inheritance have won or been nominated for the National Magazine Award, the Pushcart Prize and the CBC poetry prize.

This remarkable debut isn't light reading, the dark pulse driving it is family as trauma and the devastating legacy of war. But its tight rhythms, startling images and vivid, arresting turns of phrase make it utterly compelling.

- The Toronto Star

In the Press

"Powell's poems are full of lively vignettes in which realism strikes lyrical sparks off harshness."

Times Literary Supplement

"Her work draws in the reader with the anecdotal verve of good short stories and transfixes with exacting imagery."

Harvard Review

"This remarkable debut isn't light reading: the dark pulse driving it is family history as trauma and the devastating legacy of war."

Toronto Star

Upcoming Events

October 11

Reading at Octopus Books, 7 pm, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa

November 4-6

Wild Writers Festival, Waterloo, Ontario

April 24

Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush Launch, Attic Owl Reading Series with Michelle Hallett at Cafe C’est La Vie, Moncton, NB


Grey Suit was a VHS magazine founded by poet and performance artist Anthony Howell in 1993, and featured works by artists and poets such as Caroline Bergvall, Les Murray, Stelarc, and John Ashbery. Revived as a small press and web archive in 2013, Grey Suit is supported by the Elephant Trust and the Arts Council of England, and has published a series of fine chapbooks featuring Ernst Haekel's Lichenes on the cover. The original VHS magazine is now available in full at greysuiteditions.org, and has recently been archived by the BFI.

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Kerry Lee is represented in North America by Chris Bucci at The McDermid Agency and in the United Kingdom by Jennifer Hewson at Rogers, Coleridge and White. For media enquiries related to Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush, please contact Miranda Snyder at HarperCollins Canada.

Sign Up for News, Events & Much More! Kerry Lee is available for book clubs, workshops and readings. She can be contacted at kerryleepowell@gmail.com