Publication Date April 2010
No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson
' There is no place in normal New Zealand society for the man who is different' , wrote William Harrison (Bill) Pearson. One of New Zealand' s most distinguished fiction writers and sharpest critics, Pearson' s life was also fraught with contradiction and secrecy, largely because of his homosexuality. Born in Greymouth in 1922, he grew up in a society dominated by a rugged ideal of New Zealand manhood; not an easy childhood or adolescence for an unusually sensitive boy who preferred intellectual pursuits to sports. He went to university and Dunedin Training College, then taught at Blackball School - a period from which he drew the material for his celebrated novel, Coal Flat. After serving in the Second World War he received his PhD from the University of London - where distance gave him a clear critical perspective on this country of' fretful sleepers' - then returned to New Zealand as a scholar and lecturer, writer and editor. Bill Pearson' s life is emblematic of vital elements in twentieth-century New Zealand society: intellectual culture, left-wing politics and the growing acceptance of homosexual identity and Maori and Pacific Island culture.
Review: "In both his fiction and his critical writing, Pearson helped to define the themes and modes of New Zealand critical realism." --"The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature"
Author Biography: Dr Paul Millar is a senior lecturer in the School of English, Film and Theatre at Victoria University of Wellington. He has published five books and a number of articles on the poetry of James K. Baxter and has co-written the Baxter documentary The Road to Jerusalem. He was a judge in the 2004 and convening judge in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Paul Millar received a Copyright Licensing Limited Writers Award in 2003 to complete No Fretful Sleeper.