Brian Walter is a poet, editor, and community development worker, who has also taught at Chapman High School in Gelvandale, and as a senior lecturer at the University of Fort Hare, Alice, where he started the creative writing journal, Tyume. For a Rhodes PhD, entitled Plaatje’s African Romance: The Translation of Tragedy in Mhudi and Other Writings, he worked on Sol Plaatje’s use of the romance mode to project a vision that could avert potential tragedy, using cross-cultural knowledge and sympathy to transform (or “translate”) tragic unkindness into a more human, moral understanding.
He currently focuses on his own writing and mentors the Helenvale Poets in Port Elizabeth. The Helenvale Poets now have eight publications through this writing project. He also works with the well-known Ecca group of poets and publishes in national journals and anthologies. His own books include Groundwork: An Introduction to Reading and Writing about Poetry (1997), which he wrote with Felicity Wood, as well as texts for schools. His poetry collections are Tracks (1999, Lovedale), Baakens (2000, Lovedale), Mousebirds (2008, Seaberg), Otherwise and Other Poems (2014, Echoing Green Press), Poems Packed for Travel (2016, Poetree), Allegories of the Everyday (2019, Dryad Press).
Brian Walter has won the 1999 Thomas Pringle Award for poetry published in journals and the 2000 Ingrid Jonker Prize for Tracks, as well as other National and Provincial awards.