Kathryn Walls appointed as Emeritus Professor

Professor Kathryn Walls, a highly respected scholar of English literature and a well-known member of the Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington academic community, has been appointed Emeritus Professor.

“This is a well-deserved honour that acknowledges Kathryn’s quite remarkable contributions to the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and to the wider University,” says Dean of the Faculty Professor Sarah Leggott. “We have been fortunate to have Kathryn at this University and I am delighted that she has been recognised with this appointment.”

Professor Walls received her BA and MA from the University, after which she was appointed to a Junior Lectureship in English. A Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship enabled her to study for her PhD at the University of Toronto. She returned to Wellington in 1976, taking up a two-thirds lectureship, which became a full-time position in 1988. Professor Walls undertook many important academic leadership roles at the University, serving as English Department Chairperson, Dean of Students, and Deputy Dean (of the then Faculty of Arts), and she was also a staff representative on the University Council. In the two years before her retirement, she was Head of the then School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies.

Having taught “period” literature (from Chaucer to Alexander Pope) for most of her career, Professor Walls’s published research spans a similar range. In 2008 she published a scholarly edition of William Baspoole’s “The Pilgrime”; written on the eve of the English Civil War, “The Pilgrime” is a polemical anti-Puritan adaptation of an early fourteenth-century allegory. She is the author of “God’s Only Daughter: Spenser’s Una as the Invisible Church” (Manchester University Press, 2013).  Having pioneered the teaching of children’s literature at Wellington University, she has also published numerous articles on Margaret Mahy. She is also a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge.

“I feel privileged to have been able to engage with the great works of the past as a teacher and researcher throughout my career at my alma mater. I am lucky, too, to have been associated (as an examiner and occasional supervisor) with the wonderful International Institute of Modern Letters from its very first beginnings as Bill Manhire’s 200-level ENGL course in creative writing,” says Professor Walls.

“I was honoured to be offered the position of Emeritus Professor, and I am looking forward to a retirement working on the influence of the scientific revolution on the poetry of Alexander Pope, and as an executive editor of a Spenser series for the Manchester University Press.”