Richard Woolley has been a film director, performer and musician and is still an active writer and academic. 

Family photo In the 1960s he briefly played in a band called the Voodoo Strutters, in the 70s he worked as an actor, composer and musician for Red Ladder Theatre, and, in the 80s and 90s, he wrote a number of songs now available as downloads or CDs. In the 70s and 80s he wrote and directed several films for cinema and TV, including: Telling Tales (1980), Brothers and Sisters (1981) and Girl from the South (1988). In 2011 the British Film Institute issued a box set  of his films entitled An Unflinching Eye. He has written a range of scripts and published four novels including the whodunit Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands. He has lived in Berlin, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Auckland, as well as in his country of origin, England. He has been Director of the Dutch Film Academy, founding Dean of Film and TV at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, inaugural holder of the Greg Dyke Chair of Film & Television at the University of York and, most recently, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Performance, Media & English at Birmingham City University.

He has one son, divides his time between the UK and New Zealand and currently (2016) works as a screenwriter, novelist and (visiting) professor. His last novel SEKABO, set in the North York Moors of 2097 and 1990, was published by Thames River Press  in September 2014. His next novel STRANGER LOVE deals with the clash between Dutch and Maori in New Zealand/ Aotearoa in December 1642, seen from the perspective of two young people on either side. It is to be launched in New Zealand in September 2016. A more autobiographical book entitled BREAD OF HEAVEN, that also incorporates one of Woolley's unfilmed screenplays from the 1980s, has just been published (March 2016) and is now available.


New novel STRANGER LOVE launches in New Zealand September 12th 2016 - scroll down 




In August 1642, Abel Tasman sailed from Batavia (present day Jakarta) with two ships, the Zeehaen and the Heemskerck (see below), a team of officers (including a draughtsman and a barber-surgeon), a crew of sailors and a complement of soldiers at the behest of the United East Indies Company (VOC). They were in search of the fabled Southland, which was assumed to stretch from New Holland (Australia) to South America, and, more importantly, as the VOC was a monopoly Dutch trading company equivalent in scale to a present day multi-national, to be a place with gold, spices and a people ready to trade and be brought under control of the Dutch.  The Ngati Tumatakokiri, who lived around the Mohua, a bay renamed Murderer’s Bay by Tasman because of events his arrival triggered and now known as Golden Bay, were a Maori iwi, or tribe, who had migrated across the straits from Whanganui in the North Island of New Zealand/Aotearoa one hundred years before Tasman’s visit. Since that time, they had been driven back to the Western half of the South Island’s top by later Maori migrations, and in particular by incursions of the Rangitane iwi.







  • "I've been a Director, Dean and Professor in universities around the world. But at heart, and above all, I have remained a creative artist – in film, music and words."