Keely O'Shannessylink to Book Design indexlink to Other Miscellany indexlink to Infospacer
p. +64 27 440 6564
KEELY O'SHANNESSY is an Auckland-based graphic designer and artist who currently specialises in book and book cover design. Over the last seven years she has worked for many of the prominent publishing houses in New Zealand including Penguin NZ, Random House NZ, Auckland University Press, Victoria University Press and Awa Press (for a full list of recent clients, see below). She has designed covers for numerous award-winning books including Eleanor Catton’s first novel The Rehearsal (her second novel The Luminaries recently won the Man Booker Prize); As The Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong; Wulf by Hamish Clayton; Dear Sweet Harry by Lynn Jenner; and Shift by Rhian Gallagher. In the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards, three books that she worked on were shortlisted for prizes – Civilisation by Steve Braunias (general non fiction), The Darling North by Anne Kennedy (poetry) and His Own steam: The Work of Barry Brickell by David Craig & Gregory O'Brien (illustrated non fiction).

Keely’s book cover designs have been recognised in the PANZ Book Design Awards for the last 5 consecutive years. In 2009, The Rehearsal was shortlisted for Best Cover; in 2010 As The Earth Turns Silver was shortlisted for best cover and Mirabile Dictu won best non-illustrated book; in 2011 No Fretful Sleeper was shortlisted for best cover and best non-illustrated book; in 2012 A Micronaut in the Wide World was shortlisted for best illustrated book and, most recently in 2013, At The White Coast was shortlisted for best cover. Keely was also named Young Designer of the Year in 2010 and was shortlisted for the title the previous year.

Prior to 2006, Keely lived in Melbourne and worked as a video artist and multimedia designer. During that time she exhibited and performed at many of Melbourne’s premier art institutions including ACMI, CCP and The State Library of Victoria. She was also contracted to work on special projects for ACMI and the Ian Potter Museum of Art; she designed educational websites and interactives for The Department of Education; and she performed regularly as a VJ at many Melbourne events and venues including The Melbourne International Arts Festival, the The Melbourne International Animation Festival, The Electundra Festival and The Big Day Out. In 2003 she was awarded an RMIT Union Arts Grant to develop ScreenTest and in 2004 she won the CCP Nikon Summer Salon Award for Best Video/Multimedia Work for her piece Glitch: Art in the age of Digital Malfunction.

Keely has a degree in Visual Arts (AUT 1998), for which she was granted the Auckland Society of Arts Scholarship covering tuition fees for the first year. She has also studied Art Curatorship at Melbourne University (2000-01) and Electronic design and Interactive Media at RMIT (2002-3).

2013 Best cover (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards
2012 Best illustrated book (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards (joint with Katrina Duncan)
2011 Best cover (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards
2011 Best non-illustrated book (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards (joint with Katrina Duncan)
2010 Awa Press Young Designer of the Year, PANZ Book Design Awards
2010 Best non-illustrated book, PANZ Book Design Awards (joint with Katrina Duncan)
2010 Best cover (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards
2009 Awa Press Young Designer of the Year (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards
2009 Best cover (Highly commended), PANZ Book Design Awards
2004 CCP Nikon Summer Salon Award for best video/multimedia work
2003 RMIT Union Arts Grant (joint with Matthew Gingold)
1994 Auckland Society of Arts Scholarship

2013 'Don't Judge a Book: What goes into the design of a book cover? Five finalists in the PANZ awards for Best Cover take you inside their pages', Idealog #46 (July/Aug p. 39)
2011 (Interview with Finlay Macdonald) The Good Word Show, series 2 episode 11 (section 3),
Television New Zealand (10 May)
2010 'Kudos', Nicola Shepheard, Metro (Sept pg. 133)
2010 'Covers Up', Stacey Anyan, North & South (Aug pg. 94-97)
2009 'Designing a Great Cover', Booksellers News (Feb pg. 9)
2003 'Through Alice's Looking Glass', Jeff Khan, RealTime (issue #58 Dec-Jan pg. 27)

Auckland University Press
Awa Press
Constable & Robinson UK
Gecko Press
Little Island Press
New Holland Publishers NZ
Penguin Books NZ
Pindar NZ
Random House NZ
Victoria University Press
Whitireia Publishing

2006 (Group Show) 'Local Transit', Artspace, May-July (Collaboration with Kylie Duncan & Gerard Phillips)
2004-05 'ScreenTest' (Interactive) Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Memory Grid), Nov 04- Mar 05
(collaboration with Matthew Gingold
2004 'ScreenTest' (Installation for the Next Wave Festival) Experimaedia, State Library of Victoria, May 18-June 18
(collaboration with Matthew Gingold
2003 'Alice's Conversations in Cyberspace', Centre for Contemporary Photography (Emedia Gallery), Oct-Nov

2005 'Works for Long Attention Spans', Melbourne Fringe Festival (live video performance with High Pass Filter)
2005 'Remains to Be Seen', Melbourne International Animation Festival, June 25 (Live video, sound & animation collaboration with Matthew Gingold, Simon Macewan, Dario Vacirca and Isnod).
2005 Electundra Festival, June 13 (live video & sound collaboration with Matthew Gingold & Isnod)
2004 'Here: Secret Histories of Melbourne', Nov 9, 16 & 23 (video design & projection. Project by Martyn Pedlar,
funded by Melbourne City Council)
2004 'Floating Point', First Floor, Jan 21 (co-curation, promotion and performance with Matthew Gingold.
Live audio-visual performance event involving 26 audio and video artists performing 9 collaborative works).
2004 'Kiss My... After Effects', Melbourne Fringe Festival (live video collaboration with Matthew Gingold)
2003 'Symbiopotic', First Floor, Oct 22 (co-curation, promotion and performance with Matthew Gingold.
Live video art showcase of 12 of Melbourne’s best live video artists).

2002-03 Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology – Advanced Diploma of Electronic Design and Interactive Media
2000-01 University of Melbourne – Master of Art Curatorship
1994-97 Auckland University of Technology – Bachelor of Visual Arts