Author(s): Peter Simpson
For two decades in Christchurch, New Zealand, a cast of extraordinary men and women remade the arts.
In this book, Simpson tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this 'Bloomsbury South' and the arts and artists that made it. Simpson brings to life the individual talents and their passions, but he also takes us inside the scenes that they created together: Bethell and her visiting coterie of younger poets; Glover and Bensemann's exacting typography at the Caxton Press; the yearly exhibitions and aesthetic clashes of the Group; McCahon and Baxter's developing friendship; the effects of Brasch's patronage; Marsh's Shakespearian re-creations at the Little Theatre.
Simpson recreates a Christchurch we have lost, where a group of artists collaborated to create a distinctively New Zealand art which spoke to the condition of their country as it emerged into the modern era.
Illustrated Non-Fiction Finalist - Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017.
If you could physically sense an author s passion and thoroughness, Peter Simpson s books would glow like fresh bread. His timely and lavishly illustrated Fantastica: The World of Leo Bensemann positively radiates, and yet again shows Auckland University Press to be New Zealand s pre-eminent art book publisher. Andrew Paul Wood, Landfall Online"
A writer and scholar who now lives in Auckland, Peter Simpson lived in Christchurch for 25 years and both graduated from and subsequently taught at the University of Canterbury. Simpson is the author of six non-fiction books, including Fantastica: The World of Leo Bensemann (2011), Patron and Painter: Charles Brasch and Colin McCahon (2010), Colin McCahon: The Titirangi Years 1953-1959 (2007) and Answering Hark: McCahon/Caselberg: Painter/Poet (2001). He has edited, or contributed to, many other titles, including books on Allen Curnow, Kendrick Smithyman, Ronald Hugh Morrieson, Charles Spear and Peter Peryer. A former head of English at the University of Auckland, Simpson was also co-founder and part-time director of the Holloway Press, an institution which drew on the small-press tradition of Lowry and Glover. Peter Simpson was awarded the Creative NZ Michael King Fellowship in 2012 and used the fellowship to work on Bloomsbury South.