Bennett, Joe 1957- (Julian Bennett)

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Bennett, Joe 1957- (Julian Bennett)


Born April 20, 1957, in Eastbourne, England. Education: Cambridge University, graduated.


Home—Lyttelton, New Zealand. E-mail—[email protected].


Journalist, educator, and author. Has taught English in Spain, France, Canada, and Christ Church College, New Zealand.


Columnist of the year, Qantas Media Awards, 1998, 2001, 2004.


Just Walking the Dogs, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 1998.

Fun Run and Other Oxymorons: Singular Reflections of an Englishman Abroad, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2000.

So Help Me Dog, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2000.

Sit, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2001.

Bedside Lovers (and Other Goats), Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2002.

Doggone, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2002.

Barking, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2003.

A Land of Two Halves: An Accidental Tour of New Zealand, Scribner (London, England), 2004.

Unmuzzled, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2004.

Dogmatic, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2005.

Down Boy, Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2006.

Mustn't Grumble: An Accidental Return to England, Pocket (London, England), 2007.

Eyes Right (and They's Wrong): Joe Bennett Sets the World Straight, Again, Simon & Schuster (East Roseville, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.

Love, Death, Washing-Up, Etc.: Joe Bennett Sorts It Out, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2007.

Where Underpants Come From: From Checkout to Cotton, Field Travels through the New China, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2008.

Author of a syndicated column.


British-born writer Joe Bennett was educated at Cambridge University, and went on to teach English in a number of countries, including Spain, France, Canada, and New Zealand, where he eventually settled as a freelance writer. Bennett specializes in writing humorous columns that have been syndicated in a number of New Zealand newspapers across the country; his work earned him the title of Columnist of the Year in the Qantas Media Awards three separate times. Many of Bennett's columns have been collected and republished as books, making them available around the world. The owner of a variety of pets, including dogs, goats, chickens, and a cat, Bennett frequently writes about animals. Just Walking the Dogs, Doggone, Barking, and Dogmatic are just a few of his volumes of collected columns.

Bennett has also written several travel books. In A Land of Two Halves: An Accidental Tour of New Zealand, he recounts his experiences traveling around the country, primarily by hitchhiking and allowing chance to help determine his route and his discoveries. The point of his travels was simply to observe the lives of New Zealanders in different parts of the nation, as well as to see the countryside and all of its wonders, including wildlife and everyday architecture. He discusses the differences he noted between various regions and shares his observations both of the people he met and the stories they told him. A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that "no national character emerges in his narrative, but readers do get a good, long look through the eyes of working class New Zealanders." The reviewer concluded that Bennett's book is "shrewd entertainment." In a review for Library Journal, Louise Feldman commented that readers of the book "come away wanting to visit this beautiful, unique, quirky country on the far side of the world."

Mustn't Grumble: An Accidental Return to England is a kind of companion piece to Bennett's A Land of Two Halves. In this book, he attempts to replicate his trip around New Zealand back in his homeland of England. He sets out to hitchhike around the country, but discovers this is not as simple as it was back in the 1970s when he originally did so, or even as simple as it was in New Zealand. So instead Bennett travels in a borrowed car. He travels around the country, getting the feel of most towns from the characters at their local pubs. Library Journal contributor Margaret Heilbrun remarked: "Bennett is a master of rhythmic, enlightening description and self-honesty."



Bennett, Joe, A Land of Two Halves: An Accidental Tour of New Zealand, Scribner (London, England), 2004.

Bennett, Joe, Mustn't Grumble: An Accidental Return to England, Pocket (London, England), 2007.


Bulletin with Newsweek, September 26, 2006, "Outward Bound," p. 74.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of A Land of Two Halves, p. 949; April 15, 2007, review of Mustn't Grumble.

Library Journal, October 15, 2005, Louise Feldman, review of A Land of Two Halves, p. 73; May 1, 2007, Margaret Heilbrun, review of Mustn't Grumble, p. 93.

Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007, review of Mustn't Grumble, p. 41.

Times Literary Supplement, February 11, 2005, "Tattoos and Shoes," p. 36.


Joe Bennett Home Page, (January 12, 2008).

Speakers New Zealand Web site, (January 12, 2008), brief biography of Joe Bennett.

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