Chris Bourke is an experienced journalist and writer with a strong interest in music and music history. His journalism career has encompassed writing for the New Zealand Listener, editing Rip It Up magazine and producing the Saturday Morning Programme for Radio New Zealand. His books include Crowded House: Something So Strong and Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music, 1918–1964. Blue Smoke won three awards at the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards. A reviewer for the Sunday Star Times described it as ‘one of the most enlightening and significant books ever written about music in this country’.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bourke, Chris (1959– ) is an experienced journalist and writer with a strong interest in music and music history. He started his journalism career as a staff writer at the New Zealand Listener in 1984. From 1986 to 1988 he was editor for Rip It Up magazine, then arts and books editor for the Listener from 1993 to 1996. He became producer for the Saturday Morning Programme on Radio National in 2001, where he worked until 2007.
His first two books are both about popular music. The first, Crowded House: Something So Strong (Pan Macmillan Australia), was published in 1997. Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music, 1918–1964 (Auckland University Press) was published in 2010. Reviewer Grant Smithies described Bourke as ‘a cultural historian with an ear for a great tune’ going on to say that ‘he has produced one of the most enlightening and significant books ever written about music in this country’ (Sunday Star Times, 24 October 2010). Bob Williams described Blue Smoke as ‘meticulously researched’ and claimed that ‘Bourke deserves the highest praise for this labour of love’ (Manawatu Standard, 20 November 2010).
Blue Smoke was the winner of three award categories at the New Zealand Post New Zealand Book Awards in 2011. The book won the Book of the Year award, as well as the General Non-Fiction and People’s Choice awards.
Bourke was granted a National Library Annual Research Fellowship in 2006 and was writer in residence at Waikato University in 2008.
In 2017, Bourke's book Goodbye Maoriland: The Songs and Sounds of New Zealand's Great War was published by Auckland University Press. Described as 'a journey inside the heart of New Zealand’s World War I experience through song,' Goodbye Maoriland was the winner of the 2018 IASPM-ANZ Rebecca Coyle Prize and also longlisted for the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award at the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Bourke is currently content director at Audioculture: The Noisy Library of New Zealand Music.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
Updated May 2022.