Writer Brian Burland to be buried today

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Writer, poet and artist Brian Burland will be remembered with a funeral service this afternoon.

Mr. Burland, whose half-century of writing earned him national and international acclaim, died last week at the age of 79.

Although he was also a poet and painter, Mr. Burland was best known for his fiction writing. In 1964 "St. Nicholas and the Tub" – Mr. Burland's first novel, was published.

  • <b>Bermudian author</b> Brian Burland is shown in this 1988 file photo.

    Bermudian author Brian Burland is shown in this 1988 file photo.

  • Bermudian author Brian Burland poses while signing copies of his novel

    Bermudian author Brian Burland poses while signing copies of his novel "Undertow" in the early 1970s.


Writer, poet and artist Brian Burland will be remembered with a funeral service this afternoon.

Mr. Burland, whose half-century of writing earned him national and international acclaim, died last week at the age of 79.

Although he was also a poet and painter, Mr. Burland was best known for his fiction writing. In 1964 "St. Nicholas and the Tub" – Mr. Burland's first novel, was published.

In 1998 – 40 years later, he published his last work and first collection of poetry entitled "Poems by Brian Burland".

"I have always felt a great reticence about publishing my poetry," said the author shortly after his poems were published. "I usually sneaked them in the front and back of my novels.

"But, at my age, I have now decided to stop being falsely modest. I realise that life is so short, you have to share every good thing with everyone."

The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Bermuda Literary Awards honoured Mr. Burland by naming its Prize for Fiction after him.

As the first Bermudian to embrace the Baha'i Faith, a two-century-old religious movement which emphasises equality and spiritual unity of mankind, Mr. Burland was not one to follow the crowd.

"He was a singular man, blessed and cursed with passion, creativity and human frailty," said Dr. William Stull, a former professor at the University of Hartford, who worked with Burland.

Leighton Rochester, a long-time friend of Mr. Burland and fellow follower of Baha'i faith described him as "a forward thinker, trailblazer and revolutionary".

"He was a fervent believer in the oneness of mankind," said Mr. Rochester. "He saw past skin colour and race – something quite uncommon in 1950s and 1960s Bermuda."

Throughout his long writing career Mr. Burland received the rare distinction of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He was a member of the Academy of American Poets, a guest Fellow of Yale University, visiting professor at Connecticut College, a member of the Arts Council of Princeton and founder of the Princeton Writers Group.

Mr. Burland was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1979.

In 1993, he was a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bermuda Arts Council.

Born in Bermuda on August 23, 1931, Mr. Burland started his academic career at Saltus Grammar School before attending boarding school in the UK and finishing at the University of Eastern Ontario in Canada.

While much of his writing career was spent between England and the United States, a large portion of his subject matter was based or loosely based on Bermuda.

A Baha'i remembrance service will be held this afternoon at the St. Paul's Christian Education Centre on Middle Road, Paget at 4 p.m. All are welcome.

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