C. K. Stead

Poet, critic, novelist, recorder.

Photo credit: Marti Friedlander

C. K. Stead was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1932.


From the late 1950s, he began to earn an international reputation as a poet and literary critic – his book The New Poetic (1964) has sold over 100,0000 copies – and, later, as a novelist. He has published more than 40 books and received numerous honours recognising his contribution to literature, including a CBE (1974), an Honorary DLitt from the University of Bristol (2001), the CNZ Michael King Fellowship (2005), the Order of New Zealand (2007) and, in 2009, the $60,000 Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction as well as the Montana New Zealand Book Award (Reference and Anthology) for his Collected Poems in 2009. In 2010 he won two international prizes, The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award and The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.


In 2010 he won the world’s richest short story award, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award worth £25,000, and his poem ‘Ischaemia’ won the Hippocrates Prize (open section), worth £5000. He received our highest award, the Order of New Zealand, in 2007 and he is the New Zealand poet laureate for 2015–2017.