Brian Turner

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Jillian Sullivan

Brian Turner is a well-known writer of creative non-fiction and poetry. Life as a member of one of New Zealand’s most famous sporting families, coupled with his work in journalism and broadcasting, has broadened his understanding of his country and its diverse people. His publications include best-selling sports biographies (with Colin Meads, Josh Kronfeld, Anton Oliver and Glenn Turner), and numerous collections of poetry, including Ladders of Rain (joint winner Commonwealth Poetry prize (1978)), Beyond (winner NZ Book Awards for Poetry (1993)), and Just This (winner NZ Post Book Award for Poetry (2010)). His many other books include the autobiographical Somebodies and Nobodies: Growing up in an Extraordinary Sporting Family, and Timeless Land (with Grahame Sydney and Owen Marshall). Brian has written plays and television scripts and his work has appeared in countless magazines, journals and anthologies. He was the Te Mata Estate NZ Poet Laureate (200305).

Amongst his extensive list of accolades, in 19945 Brian held an Arts Council Scholarship in Letters. He was Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago (1984), and Writer-in-Residence at the University of Canterbury (1997). He was awarded the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry (2009), and The New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry (2009). In 2011, he received an Hon D Litt from the University of Otago. In the 2020 Queens Birthday Honours he was awarded an ONZM for services to literature and poetry.

Brian’s more recent books are the best-selling Into the Wider World (shortlisted for the 2009 Montana Book Awards), which focuses on the future of this country’s natural environment, Just This, winner of the NZ Post Book Award for Poetry (2010), and a further collection of poems, Inside Outside (2011). A major collection of new and previously published work, Elemental – Central Otago Poems (with photographs by Gilbert van Reenen) was published in 2012. His most recent book is Boundaries: People and Places of Central Otago (2014), poems, essays and interviews relating to the region he lives in. It has continued to appear in the book trade’s best-selling list ever since.



Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

Victoria University Press author page

Penguin Random House Books author page

NZ Electronic Poetry Centre poet page


Bibliography: Brian Turner



Night Fishing (Victoria University Press, 2016)

Elemental: Central Otago Poems  ([includes photographs by Gilbert van Reenen], Godwit/Random House, 2012)

Inside Outside (Victoria UP, 2011)

Just This (Victoria UP, 2009)

Footfall (Random House/Godwit, 2005)

Taking Off  (Victoria UP, 2001)

Timeless Land (Reproductions of paintings by Grahame Sydney, poems by Brian Turner, and stories by Owen Marshall: Longacre Press, 1995)

Beyond, (John McIndoe,1992)

All that Blue Can Be (John McIndoe, 1989)

Bones, (John McIndoe, 1985)

Listening to the River (John McIndoe, 1983)

Ancestors, (John McIndoe,1981)

Ladders of Rain (John McIndoe Limited,1978)


Creative Non-fiction

Boundaries: People and Places of Central Otago (Penguin:Random House, 2015)

Into the Wider World: A Back Country Miscellany (Random House, 2008) Shortlisted NZ Post Book Awards 2009

Inside –  with Anton Oliver (Hachette Livre, 2005)

Somebodies and Nobodies, a memoir (Random House, 2002)

Meads (Hodder Moa Beckett, 2002)

New Zealand Photographs by Scott Freeman ([features a long introductory essay and introduction by Brian Turner], Craig Potton Publishing, 2000)

On the Loose – with Josh Kronfeld (Longacre Press, 1999)

Lifting the Covers – co-author with Glenn Turner (Longacre Press, 1998)

The Guide to Trout Fishing in Otago, (Fish and Game Otago, 1994)

The Ultimate Challenge (Tandem 1993)

Opening Up – co-author of Glenn Turner’s second volume in his cricketing autobiography (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)

High Country: Four Seasons, (Millwood, 1983)

Images of Coastal Otago ([Essay in a book of photographs by Michael de HamelMcIndoe], 1982)






Quote Unquote

North and South


New Zealand Books

Otago Daily Times

The Press

The Dominion/Evening Post

Sunday Times

Fish and Game New Zealand



These I Have Loved: My favourite New Zealand poems, chosen by Harvey McQueen (Steele Roberts, 2010)

Our Own Kind – 100 New Zealand Poems about Animals (Random House, 2009)

Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets (Victoria UP/Carcanet, 2009)

A Good Handful (Auckland UP, 2008)

Moonlight – New Zealand Poems on Death and Dying (Random House, 2008)

The Earth’s Deep Breathing: Garden Poems by NZ Poets (Random/Godwit, 2007)

Our Favourite Poems (Craig Potton, 2007)

The Six Pack (NZ Book Month, 2006)

The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape (Craig Potton, 2005)

Spirit in a Strange Land: A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse (Random, 2002)

Fresh Fields (Shoal Bay, 2001)

Essential New Zealand Poems (Random, 2001)

New Zealand Love Poems (Otago UP, 2000)

The Oxford Companion to the Year (Otago UP, 1999)

Out of Town (Shoal Bay, 1999)

Lake, Mountain, Tree (Godwit, 1998)

The Oxford Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English (Otoago UP,1997)

Sixteen New Zealand Poets, (Longman Paul,1995)

An Anthology of New Zealand Twentieth Century Poetry, Third Edition, (Otago UP, 1987)

The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse (Penguin, 1985 and 1989)

The Oxford Book of New Zealand Writing Since 1945 (Otago UP, 1983)


'...we were there as faith-based writers, as believers in the mana of Oceania...' - David Eggleton

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