new zealand electronic poetry centre

Albert Wendt 

Friday 23 August 7.30-10pm  once and for all
Saturday 24 August 
6.00 – 7.30pm  the book of the black star

Albert Wendt CNZM is of the Aiga Sa-Tuaopepe of Lefaga, and the Aiga Sa-Patu of Vaiala, Samoa. Poet, novelist, short-story writer, playwright, he is currently a Professor of English specialising in New Zealand and Pacific Literatures and Creative Writing at the University of Auckland. He has been an influential figure in the developments that have shaped New Zealand and Pacific literature since the 1970s and was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit  in 2001 for his services to literature.

Albert Wendt was born in Tauese, Apia, Western Samoa, in 1939. After primary schooling in Samoa, he attended New Plymouth Boys' High School, Ardmore Teachers’ College and Victoria University of Wellington, from which he has an MA in history. He arrived in New Zealand for the first time in 1953 (leaving again in 1964) and returned permanently in 1988.

During his a distinguished academic career in Samoa, Fiji, and New Zealand, he has also found time to publish five novels, several collections of short stories and poetry, articles on Pacific writing and art and has edited various anthologies of Pacific writing.

His novels include: Sons for the Return Home, Pouliuli, Leaves of the Banyan Tree, winner of the 1980 Watties Book of the Year, and Ola, winner of the SE Asia and Pacific Section of the Commonwealth Book Prize 1991 . His collections of poems include Inside Us the Dead, Shaman of Visions (AUP, 1984), Photographs (AUP) and The Book of the Black Star (AUP, 2002). He is one of 12 New Zealand poets featured reading from their published work on the audio CD Seeing Voices (AUP, 1999).

He has edited several anthologies, notably Nuanua: Pacific Writing in English Since 1980 (AUP, 1995) and Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English (due AUP 2002). He makes many appearances at writers’ festivals and other literary and cultural events. He delivered the 2000 Book Council lecture, entitled "Le Vaipe: the Dead Water", at the NZ Festival 2000.

His research interests include new literatures in English, especially Maori and Pacific fiction and poetry. He is currently working on a number of projects in these areas.


© Albert Wendt, from The Book of the Black Star
forthcoming from Auckland UP, 2002. First published in Trout 9.


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Last updated 16 July, 2002