Bill Direen

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William (Bill) Direen is a New Zealand writer and musician. His novels use narrative techniques ranging from first person to transgeneric, and are set in places as various as Berlin, Paris and the South Island of New Zealand. For his work as a musician see The Bilders.

Recent Works[edit]

  • Versions Translations (Kilmog Press, 2014). Versions of, translations of, and responses to a range of short European language poems from Greco-Roman times to the present.
  • Utopia Rag (Tank Press, 2014). Reissue of a novel of 2002, set in the South Island of New Zealand.
  • The Ballad of Rue Belliard (The Writers Group, 2013). Author name, Guillaume Direen. An experimental romance set within a community on the outer perimeter of Paris. Entire issue of ISSN 1175-9313 #48.
  • Wormwood (Titus Books, 2012). Limited reissue of the 1997 novel. Sold at readings and performances only.
  • Tourtagebuch (Titus Books, 2012). ISBN 979-10-91280-00-6. German translation by Arno Loeffler of Direen's 1994 personal diary, kept during a performance tour of German-speaking Europe.
  • Fallen to a Field, long poem. Recorded in live collaboration with NZ pianist Jonathan Crayford at NZ Embassy in Paris. Broadcast by Radio New Zealand Concert, 10 July 2012.
  • Dunedin Poems (Kilmog Press, 2011). ISBN 978-0-9864665-5-7
  • Devonport, A Diary Impressions of Devonport, Auckland, during the tenure of the University of Auckland Fellowship at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2010. (Signalmans House Series Nº.1, Holloway Press, University of Auckland, 2011) ISBN 978-0-9864618-0-4
  • L. A novella, set in New Zealand in the midst of guerrilla warfare between two economic factions; the world has been reshaped after geological upheavals. Published in an anthology of NZ speculative fiction writers A Foreign Country. (Random Static. Anna Caro & Juliet Buchanan, editors). 2010. ISBN 978-0-473-16916-9
  • Enclosures Transgeneric novel in five parts including Jonah (at Kapiti), The Stadium (history of a people confined to a biosphere), and autobiographical content. (Titus). 2008. ISBN 978-1-877441-06-6
  • Song of the Brakeman (novel, 2006). Apocalyptic vision of a future South Pacific. Science fiction novel. ISBN 0-9582586-7-8
  • Editor Percutio, ISSN 1953-1427, a trans-cultural literary annual (poetry, fiction extracts, translations & versions, essays, reviews and history). 2006, -07, -08, -09, -10, -11, -12, -13, -14. Guest Editor of Landfall #219 'On Music'. ISBN (of #219 only) 978-1-877372 98-8; brief #36 and #42 (ISSN 1175-9313).

Critical Responses[edit]

  • Early theatre work (1981–87): "hard driving rhythms and surreal imagery".[1]
  • James K. Baxter’s Three Mimes "receive[d] intelligent and effective treatment".[2]
  • To Bitumen (play) "an evocative memory piece… strong on physical sensations".[3]
  • To Fowkes Alive (music-theatre): "a struggle against primeval and futuristic obstacles",[4] "a gentle ‘musical delirium’ which raises smiles rather than laughter",[5] "the surrealistic tale of a ‘petrolhead’ whose life flashes before his eyes the moment that he dies in a violent accident"[6]
  • To Dial a Claw (music-theatre): "a living experiment in alternative staging";[7]
  • To Raoul (song cycle): "an exploration of exploitation",[8] a story told "from its beginnings in the wastelands of kiwi suburbia to its chilly… conclusion.".[9]
  • To Wormwood: "Entropy and death read as metaphors for the implosion of post-war Europe and the failure of capitalism.".[10]
  • To Nusquama: "A well-written often humorous paradigm for the 21st century".[11]
  • To The Impossible: "Direen’s heightened ear for absurdity serves this collection well"[12]
  • To Jules: "Romantic stereotypes collide noisily with modern realities and growing older means a confused prostate and even more complexing emotions. Jules is the story of a man at life’s pivotal point.".[13] "It's a delightful book, but it's a book to read as series of literary compositions."[14] Jules was also described as "an indolent digression through European culture, art and Paris."[15]
  • To the novellas: "a quick and devastating appearance"[16]
  • To Song of the Brakeman: "a vividly conceived world here, manifesting slowly and brilliantly through its accumulating signs"[17]


  1. ^ Lisa Warrington, NZ Books, October 2003
  2. ^ John Farnsworth, Christchurch Press, 16 November 1984
  3. ^ Lisa Warrington, NZ Books, October 2003
  4. ^ Jane Bowron, Dominion, June 1989
  5. ^ Laurie Atkinson, Evening Post, June 1989
  6. ^ Neil Hickman, Music New Zealand, 1991
  7. ^ Mark Gobbi, March 1991, City Voice
  8. ^ Direen turns stage-show into mini rock-opera, Evening Post, Wednesday 10 March 1993
  9. ^ Bernadette Rae, NZ Herald, 25 July 1992
  10. ^ Virginia Were, NZ Listener, 23 June 1997
  11. ^ Anna Chinn, NZ Listener, December 2002
  12. ^ Kate Belgrave, Listener, 25 May 2002.
  13. ^ Christopher Moore, The Press, Christchurch, 27 March 2004
  14. ^ David Hill reviewing Jules on 10 December 2004. Radio New Zealand, National Programme.
  15. ^ Norman Bilbrough, Listener, May 2004.
  16. ^ Kapka Kassabova, Listener 16 January 1999.
  17. ^ Jen Crawford, Landfall 214, November 2007.

External links[edit]