Millar, Paul

Millar, Paul

In Brief

Paul Millar is a writer and scholar who specialises in New Zealand and Pacific literature. He has published books on the poetry of James K. Baxter, including Spark to a Waiting Fuse and Baxter’s New Selected Poems. He has also written articles on Baxter and co-wrote the Baxter documentary, The Road to Jerusalem. In 2003 Millar was awarded the Copyright Licensing Limited Writer's Award to work on the biography, No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Millar, Paul is a senior lecturer at Canterbury University who specialises in New Zealand and Pacific literature. He has published extensively in the field and is a leading expert on the writing of James K. Baxter and Bill Pearson.

Millar holds a BA (Hons) from Auckland University and a PhD from Victoria University. He was a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington from 1997, before moving to the University of Canterbury in 2009. In 2001, he taught and conducted research at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa as an exchange professor and Fulbright scholar. In 2005 he worked with colleagues at Victoria University to introduce a new postgraduate qualification, the Master of Arts in New Zealand Literature.

Millar has produced five books and a number of articles on the poetry of James K. Baxter, including Spark to a Waiting Fuse and Baxter’s New Selected Poems. He co-wrote the Baxter documentary The Road to Jerusalem and, more recently, has been the Baxter consultant on two television documentaries produced by the Gibson Group. He co-edited the collection of scholarly essays East by South: China in the Australasian Imagination, and wrote 68 author and subject entries for the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, making him the volume’s third largest contributor. He is a founding board member of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, and was for some years a member of the board of the New Zealand Book Council, where he took responsibility for the development of the first generations of the Book Council web site.

He was judge of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2004 and again in 2007 when he also convened the judging panel.

In 2007 and 2008, Millar edited three special issues of Kotare: New Zealand Notes and Queries (links below), in collaboration with Dr Jane Stafford and Associate Professor Mark Williams of Victoria University. These issues present critical and biographical essays on fifty of New Zealand's leading early writers, written by a mix of prominent academics and talented new researchers.

In 2003, Millar received the Copyright Licensing Limited Writer's Award to work on a biography of writer Bill Pearson. The result was No Fretful Sleeper, published in 2010 by Auckland University Press. Despite being one of New Zealand’s most distinguished fiction writers and sharpest critics, Pearson’s homosexuality forced on him a life of contradiction and secrecy. Drawing on Pearson’s own unpublished writing and extensive research, Millar has written an extraordinary biography of a courageous non-conformist, a man fully awake to the vulnerability of his society’s freedoms.

Millar's other projects include a collaborative study of James K. Baxter’s use of classical mythology, and a new selection of Baxter's poetry to be published jointly by Carcanet Press and Auckland University Press in 2010. He has recently commenced researching the life of poet and editor Charles Brasch.

Paul Millar's biography No Fretful Sleeper: A life of Bill Pearson was published by Auckland University Press in 2010. It was a finalist in the General Non-Fiction category of the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated January 2017.