Wevers, Lydia

Wevers, Lydia



In Brief

Lydia Wevers is a literary critic and historian, as well as an editor and reviewer. Her area of scholarship is New Zealand and Australian literature, and several of her books have focused on early New Zealand travel writing and writers. She has also edited a huge range of literary anthologies, including, Goodbye to Romance: Stories by Australian and New Zealand Women 1930s –1980s. Wevers is a great supporter of New Zealand letters and her involvement with literary organizations and groups is considerable.


Wevers, Lydia (1950 -) is a critic, English language literary historian, editor, and book reviewer.

Wevers was born in the Netherlands and came to New Zealand in 1953 – she couldn’t speak any English.

A self-described compulsive reader, Wevers is an accomplished scholar who specialises in New Zealand and Australian literature. She has taught in universities in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Europe.

From 1998-2001 she was principal researcher for the History of Print Culture Project and also a Senior Associate/Research Associate at the School of English, Film and Theatre at Victoria University. Out of that research Wevers published Country of Writing: Travel Writing About New Zealand 1809-1900, (Auckland University Press, 2002), as well as editing the companion volume Travelling to New Zealand: An Oxford Anthology (2000).

Country of Writing examines the vast literature of travel that brought New Zealand into the news-stands, libraries and smoking rooms of Europe, and connected the new colony to the interests of the Empire. By the time Anthony Trollope arrived in Otago in 1872, more than 400 books had been written about New Zealand.

This interesting and original book shows how the cultural effects of European expansionism are expressed through travel and travel writing, from the pages of the Sydney Gazette to journals of adventure, scientific papers, published diaries, guidebooks and long numbered letters read over breakfast tables in the Home Counties. Visual impressions of various kinds played a role too and the book is well illustrated with contemporary pictures.

Other books Wevers has edited include Goodbye to Romance: Stories by Australian and New Zealand Women 1930s –1980s (1989); Happy Endings: Stories by Australian and New Zealand Women, 1850s-1930s (1987); Selected poems/Robin Hyde (1984); Tabasco Sauce and Ice Cream: Stories by New Zealanders (1990) She also wrote 'The Short Story' in the Oxford History of New Zealand in English edited by Terry Sturm (1991, Second Edition 199) which was the first historical discussion of the short story in New Zealand.

Wevers has long been associated with New Zealand letters. As part of her commitment to supporting the language arts Wevers is a former Vice-President of the New Zealand Book Council and currently chairs the Trustees of the National Library. She was a member of the 2001 selection panel for the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Awards and is a member of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

Lydia Wevers is currently the Director of the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, where she has been creating an exciting focus for New Zealand cultural and literary studies. She also continues to review books for ‘Nine to Noon’ on National Radio as well as major newspapers, journals, and magazines.

On Reading (2004) is one of twelve titles in the Montana Estates essay series published by Four Winds Press. The press was established by Lloyd Jones to encourage and develop the essay genre in New Zealand.

Lydia Wevers was awarded the Pou Aronui Award by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2014. The award recognises those who have provided distinguished service to the humanities-aronui, and was gifted to Wevers for her long dedication to promoting the study and enjoyment of New Zealand’s literature, history, arts and culture.

Wevers lives in Wellington.

Last updated March, 2015.

Updated January 2017.