Mark Williams is an academic and editor. He is one of the first academics to focus his publications predominantly on contemporary New Zealand writing, placing it within an international context. He is author of several key literary texts, and has edited a huge range of literary publications including Opening the Book: New Essays on New Zealand Writing (ed. with Michele Leggott, 1995), and An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English (ed. with Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O’Brien, 1997).
FROM THE OXFORD COMPANION TO NEW ZEALAND LITERATURE
Williams, Mark (1951– ), is an academic critic and editor of contemporary New Zealand literature. Born and educated in Auckland, he went from Auckland University to the University of British Columbia for his PhD (1983), returning to lecture at Auckland and Waikato before moving to the University of Canterbury, where he is now an Associate Professor.
His major publications on New Zealand literature as author are Leaving the Highway: Six Contemporary New Zealand Novelists (1990) and his chapter on ‘Literary Scholarship, Criticism, and Theory’ in the revised OHNZLE (1998). As editor he has published The Caxton Anthology: New Zealand Poetry 1972–1986 (1987), which marked the fiftieth anniversary of Caxton Press; Dirty Silence: Aspects of Language and Literature in New Zealand (ed. with Graham McGregor, 1991); In the Same Room: Conversations with New Zealand Writers (ed. with Elizabeth Alley, 1992); Opening the Book: New Essays on New Zealand Writing (ed. with Michele Leggott, 1995); The Source of the Song: New Zealand Writers on Catholicism (1995); and An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English (ed. with Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O’Brien, Oxford University Press, 1997).
He is one of the first academics to focus his publications so predominantly on contemporary New Zealand writing. His work also shows some sense of international context, which enables him to argue in Leaving the Highway against the ‘violent dualities’ of New Zealand culture and the ‘binary habits of New Zealand criticism’ and advocate instead independence, difference, continuities and ‘complex wholeness’.
Updated January 2017.