Brian Turner was born in Dunedin in 1944 and lives in Central Otago. He is a poet and a freelance journalist, editor and writer. His first book of poems, Ladders of Rain (1978), won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. This was followed by a number of highly acclaimed poetry collections and award-winning writing in a wide range of genres including journalism, biography, memoir (Somebodies and Nobodies, 2002) and sports writing.
In 1984 he was Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago and in 1997 he was writer in residence at the University of Canterbury. His poetry collection Just This (2009) won the Poetry Award at the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards. Taking Off was published by Victoria University Press in 2001 and was a finalist at the 2002 Montana NZ Book Awards.
Brian was named the Te Mata New Zealand Poet Laureate in 2003, and in 2009 was awarded the Lauris Edmond Award for Distinguished Contribution to Poetry. Also in 2009, he received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry, worth $60,000, in recognition of significant contribution to New Zealand literature.
VUP published Brian's Selected Poems in 2019.
‘Beneath the wit, the no-nonsense honesty, the rigorous clarity of sense and the sinewy rhythmic energy of the poems’ surfaces runs the craft of a sophisticated, confident and well-read poet.’ —Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature