Vincent O’Sullivan was born in Auckland, NZ in 1937 and is one of New Zealand’s leading writers. He graduated from the universities of Auckland and Oxford and has lectured in the English departments of Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato.
He is the author of two novels — Let the River Stand, which won the 1994 The Montana NZ Book Awards, and Believers to the Bright Coast, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Tasmania Pacific Region Prize — and many plays and collections of short stories and poems. His poetry collection Seeing You Asked (Victoria University Press 1998) won Best Book of Poetry at the 1999 The Montana NZ Book Awards, the same year that Believers to the Bright Coast was runner up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction. His 2001 collection of poetry Lucky Table (Victoria University Press) was shortlisted in the poetry section of the 2001 The Montana NZ Book Awards. Nice morning for it, Adam was published to acclaim in 2004 and it won the Poetry category of the 2005 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
In April 2007 Blame Vermeer, was published by Victoria University Press. Michael Hulse reviwed it in New Zealand Books and said, "Blame Vermeer is the real thing, wise beyond the attitudes of wisdom, deft beyond the posturing of deftness, brimming with O'Sullivan's exciting ability simply to talk his understated way into sheer bloody poetry."
The movie may be slightly different (2011) offers a rich harvest of recent poems displaying the wit, intellectual agility and arresting beauty for which Vincent O’Sullivan is renowned.
Further Convictions Pending: Poems 1999-2008 gathers the best from his recent collections and includes forty four new poems.
He has a well-earned reputation as a thoughtful and incisive editor and critic and was joint editor of the five-volume Letters of Katherine Mansfield, and has edited a number of major anthologies. He has recently published a biography of John Mulgan called Long Journey to the Border.
Vincent O’Sullivan has been awarded a series of writer’s residencies and research fellowships at Australasian universities. He spent 1983 as resident playwright at Downstage Theatre, Wellington. In 1994 he was the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, France. He was appointed Director of Victoria University of Wellington’s Stout Research Centre in 1997 and is now an Emeritus Professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington.
Vincent O’Sullivan was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2000 Queens Birthday Honours. He spent most of 2007 living in the Henderson House, Alexandra, Central Otago as the inaugural recipient of a year-long residency offered to "selected writers, artists and musicians in recognition of their considerable contribution to New Zealand's culture".
One of his poems "A Bit Late, But Still" was selected for the online collection Best New Zealand Poems 2001. "The Child in the Gardens: Winter" was chosen for Best New Zealand Poems 2002. "Reading the Runes" was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2004.
His poem "Blame Vermeer" was named as one of 2007's Best New Zealand Poems.
Vincent O'Sullivan is the current New Zealand Poet Laureate 2013-2015.