Allen Curnow: A Biography

10 January 2018

This month we are giving away a copy of Simply by Sailing in a New Direction. Allen Curnow: A Biography, edited by Terry Sturm.

To enter the draw, please email your name and address to Knowledge Editor Vaughan Yarwood at The winner will be notified on 6 February, 2018.

Allen Curnow (1911-2001) is widely recognised as one of the most distinguished poets writing in English in the second half of the twentieth century. From Valley of Decision (1933) to The Bells of Saint Babel's (2001) he defined and redefined how poetry might discover the possibilities of a world seen afresh.

And in criticism and anthologies such as the Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse he helped identify the distinctive imaginative preoccupations that made this country's writing and culture different from elsewhere

This major biography reintroduces readers to Allen Curnow's life and work: from a childhood in a Christchurch vicarage, through theological training and journalism, to a career as a poet, playwright, satirist and critic.

The result of more than a decade of research and writing, Simply Sailing in a New Direction offers deep insight into the evolution of New Zealand literature and culture.


Terry Sturm (1941-2009) was Professor of English at the University of Auckland from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. A leading critic and scholar, he wrote widely on New Zealand and Australian literature, and was a pioneer in the study of popular fiction.


Simply by Sailing in a New Direction. Allen Curnow: A Biography, by Terry Sturm.

Published by Auckland University Press. Hardback, 732 pages.