Peter Bland

Peter Bland, born in 1934, grew up in the Yorkshire town of Scarborough. At age twenty he immigrated to New Zealand and began writing poetry ‘to make sense of a new country’. His first poetry collection Habitual Fevers (1958) won the MacMillan Brown Prize for creative writing. An actor as well as a poet, Bland co-founded Downstage Theatre in Wellington in 1963. After a stint acting in London and writing poetry, most of it about New Zealand, Bland returned to star as conman Wes Pennington in Came a Hot Friday (1985), for which he won a New Zealand Film Award for Best Actor. Since then, Bland has divided his time between New Zealand and the UK, always writing.

Bland has written plays, poems, children’s books and a memoir, and is the recipient of numerous awards for his poetry including a Cholmondeley Award, a Melbourne Festival Literary Award, and, in New Zealand, the 2011 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Excellence. In 2013 he released Collected Poems 1956–2011.

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