W. H. (Bill) New retired in 2003 as University Killam Professor at the University of British Columbia. A native of Vancouver, he earned an M.A. in Canadian Literature from UBC in 1963. In 1966 he was awarded his PhD from the University of Leeds, where he specialized in the English-language literatures of the Commonwealth. He then returned to the University of B.C. to set up a Commonwealth/ Postcolonial Literatures program.
Honoured by the Killam Research and Teaching Prizes (1988, 1996), the Gabrielle Roy Award (1988), the Jacob Biely Prize (1995), the Association of Canadian Studies Award of Merit (2000), and the CUFA Award for Career Achievement (2001), he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1986. In 2004 he was awarded the Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies and the Lorne Pierce Medal for his contributions to critical and creative writing. He has taught or lectured in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and the USA. In 2002, The University of Toronto Press published his Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. It has been praised in Canada and the UK for its innovative perspective and described in France as indispensable. In 2006 he was awarded the Order of Canada. Recently he received the 20th Annual George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.