29 May 2009
It is with great sadness that we acknowledges the death of Emeritus Professor of English Terry Sturm (CBE), who served on the NZ Literary Fund for 10 years.
Terry Sturm was a leading critic and scholar of Australasian writing, especially New Zealand popular fiction. He played a leading role in placing New Zealand literature at the centre of the academic curriculum. In 1990, Terry was awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to literature.
Terry Sturm was born in Auckland in 1941 and began his distinguished career at The University of Auckland. He undertook postgraduate work at Cambridge University and at the University of Leeds. He then lectured in English Literature at the University of Sydney 1967–1980, when he left to take a professorial chair at The University of Auckland.
He edited various standard literary reference works including The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English (1990, 1998), the drama section of the Oxford History of Australian Literature and the New Zealand section of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Post-colonial Literatures in English (1994). Terry Sturm’s literary biography An Unsettled Spirit: The Life and Frontier Fiction of Edith Lyttleton (G B Lancaster) (Auckland University Press, 2003) was the product of 15 years of research in New Zealand, Australia and England.
Assisted by a Marsden Fund grant, Terry spent the past recent years researching and writing a definitive literary biography, The Writings of Allen Curnow: a Study of Cultural Identity in New Zealand in the Twentieth Century. In 2005, he edited a selection of Curnow’s verse written under his pseudonym Whim Wham, Whim Wham’s New Zealand: The Best of Whim Wham 1937-1988 (Vintage, 2005).
Terry was involved in literary arts administration for many years. He was on the NZ Literary Fund and the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (1982–92) and in 1997 became first convenor of the Humanities Panel of the Marsden Fund.
The funeral for Terry Sturm will be held in the University’s Maclaurin Chapel, 18 Princes Street on Friday 29 May at 11.30am.