Brian Turner

Brian Turner is a poet, essayist, biographer and editor, as well as an ardent and accomplished sportsman, conservationist and champion of our wild places.

He is a former New Zealand Poet Laureate, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Otago in 2011. He received the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for his first collection, Ladders of Rain in 1978. He held the Burns Fellowship in 1984 and the University of Canterbury writing fellowship in 1997.

Brian played hockey for New Zealand in the 1960s; senior cricket in Dunedin and Wellington; and was a veteran road cyclist. His mountaineering experience includes an ascent of Aoraki/Mount Cook.

His writing includes columns and reviews for newspapers, and scripts for TV programmes. His publications include cricket books with his brother Glenn Turner, the former New Zealand cricket captain, books on fishing, the high country, and eight collections of poetry.

His other brother is golfer Greg Turner. Brian lives in Oturehua, a town of 30 to 40 people in the Maniototo region of Central Otago. 

Find out more about Brian on the New Zealand Book Council website, and in this New Zealand Herald interview - '12 Questions for Brian Turner'.

Photo credit: Gilbert van Reenan

Festival sessions held

An Incredible Life 

Brian Turner in conversation with Mike White

Writer and poet Brian talks about growing up in one of New Zealand's most famous sporting families and representing New Zealand; ocean sailing, climbing, cycling, fishing and golf caddying; his love of the environment and his battles to preserve it; and how it's all played a part in a half century of extraordinary writing. 


Well Versed - a Poetry Panel

Poets CK Stead, Emma Neale and Brian Turner in conversation with Jane Forrest Waghorn

Three highly acclaimed New Zealand poets - CK Stead, Emma Neale and Brian Turner - read their work and tell us what poetry is to them.


The Poems of Brian Turner

Brian Turner in conversation with Mike White

A special session with one of New Zealand's most celebrated writers, former Poet Laureate, Brian Turner. Brian will talk about how, against the odds, he became a poet and why he's still driven to write poetry. Interspersed with readings of his work, Brian will also speak about the role his Central Otago landscape plays in his poetry.