Dr. John Dennison was born in Sydney and grew up in Wellington. He studied English literature and Classics at Victoria University, before completing an M.A. in English and a Bachelor of Theology at the University of Otago. Responding to a strong sense of calling to serve God in the university, he completed a Ph.D. at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. That research resulted in a book on the poetics of Irish poet Seamus Heaney, published by Oxford University Press. In 2012 John joined the Anglican Chaplaincy at Victoria University as a lay chaplain, where he had a particular responsibility for the mission to university staff. He then served as Supervising Chaplain from 2019 to 2021.
John joined the Venn team as a Senior Teaching Fellow in 2015. In March 2021 he became Director of Resources, overseeing new initiatives in digital and print. Much of John’s work reflects his deep desire to see others flourish in their life with God, and in their giftings. He regularly teaches on the place of prayer in everyday life and work, and is passionate about creating new resources which will open people’s lives more completely to God’s purposes. John is the editor of Common Ground, Venn’s digital magazine, and is always keen to engage with new and established writers.
Central to John’s calling is his life as a maker, whether that be gardening, working at his carpentry bench, or writing another poem. His first full-length collection of poems, Otherwise (Carcanet/Auckland University Press), was long-listed for the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards and short-listed for the 2017 Michael Murphy Poetry Prize. He is married to Jannah, and they have three sons, Theo, Emmaus, and Blythe.