Born in Blenheim in 1959, John Newton grew up on a sheep farm at Port Underwood in the Marlborough Sounds. He taught for two years in the English Department at Melbourne, and from 1995 to 2009 in the English Department at the University of Canterbury. He is the 2020 Robert Burns Fellow. The Double Rainbow: James K. Baxter, Ngāti Hau and the Jerusalem Commune was published by VUP in 2009, and Hard Frost: Structures of Feeling in New Zealand Literature 1908–1945 in 2017.
John is also the author of three poetry collections: Tales from the Angler’s Eldorado (1985), Lives of the Poets (2010), and Family Songbook (2013). His work appears in many major anthologies. His latest book with VUP is Escape Path Lighting, published in October 2020. His biography of sculptor Llew Summers, Llew Summers: Body and Soul, was published in August 2020 by Canterbury University Press.