He was born in Auckland and was educated at Henderson Primary School, Henderson High School and Auckland Grammar School. He attended the University of Auckland from 1959-1962, graduating with an M.A. From 1963-66, he completed a Ph.D in New Zealand and Australian poetry at the University of Leeds. From 1967-1980, he lectured at Sydney University. He returned to New Zealand and took up a Chair in English at Auckland University in 1980. In 1982 he was appointed Chair of the New Zealand Literary Fund until 1988. He was appointed to the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council from 1988-1991, and While on the QEII Arts Council, he chaired the Literature Committee and the Creative Film and Video Panel. He is a member of Te Hunga Taunaki Kaitahi Māori. In 1989 he was awarded the CBE for services to New Zealand literature. In the 1990s he was appointed Chair of the NZVCC Committee on copyright. In 1997 he was appointed to the Marsden Fund Committee to chair the new Humanities Panel of the Marsden Fund which was set up in 1997. He writes on New Zealand and Australian literature. He co-authored the Oxford History of Australian Literature (1980), edited the fiction of Frank Anthony (1975 and 1977), co-edited the writings of the Australian author Christopher Brennan (1984), co-edited the magazine New Poetry (Australia) 1972-3, and edited a New Zealand Theatre issue of Australasian Drama Studies (1984). He is also the author of many articles on New Zealand and Australian literature, including studies of the 1930s, the short story, Frank Sargeson, Maurice Duggan, and Allen Curnow; the latter is a longstanding research interest. His most recent article is a study of Australian influence on New Zealand literature, in Tasman Relations (ed. Keith Sinclair, 1988). He is the author of critical articles on Allen Curnow. He wrote the drama section of the Oxford History of Australian Literature (1981). He was the general editor of the Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English and wrote the chapter on popular fiction. "He is also writing a literary biography of the New Zealand novelist and short story writer Edith Lyttelton (1873-1945)."
- Interview and correspondence with Sturm: 1993 and 14 Sept. 1998.
- Arts Times July/Aug. 1988: 8.
- "New Zealand Poetry and the Depression." The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 2 (Dec. 1966): 124-137. Rpt. in Essays on New Zealand Literature. Ed. Wystan Curnow. Auckland, N.Z.: Heinemann, 1973. 16-28.
- "Two Views: The Short Story in New Zealand Landfall 21 (Mar. 1967): 76-89.
- The two views are written by Terry Sturm and H. Winston Rhodes.
- "The Short Stories of Maurice Duggan." Landfall 25 (Mar. 1971): 50-71.
- "Allen Curnow: Forty Years of Poems." Islands: A New Zealand Quarterly Of Arts and Letters 4.1 (Autumn 1975): 68-75.
- A detailed review of Curnow’s Collected Poems 1933-1973, published in 1974 and containing poems from his twelve volumes. Sturm examines the role of Curnow in the development of New Zealand poetry, makes a careful study of the poetry included and excluded from Collected Poems, and discusses Curnow’s revisions and development from the 1930s-70s.
- "Fictions and Realities: An Approach to Allen Curnow’s Trees, Effigies, Moving Objects." World Literature Written in English 14.1 (Apr. 1975): 25-49.
- Alexander Buzo’s Rooted; Norm and Ahmed: A Critical Introduction. Sydney, Austral.: Currency, c. 1980. [Studies in Australian drama]
- Christopher Brennan. Ed., introd. and notes by Terry Sturm. St. Lucia, Qld: Queensland UP, 1984.
- "The Neglected Middle Distance: Towards a History of TransTasman Literary Relations." Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 16.4 (Oct. 1985): 29-46.
- "The Literary Arts - Two Years On." Editorial. Arts Times 18 (Winter 1990): 3.
- "Popular Fiction." The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English. Ed. Terry Sturm. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, 1991. 493-541.
- Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English. General Ed. Benson and Connolly. 2 vol. London, UK: Routledge, 1995.
- Sturm was the New Zealand Editor.
- Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English. Ed. Terry Sturm. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, 1991. 2nd ed. 1998.
- Louis Johnson: The Perfect Circle. Ed. Terry Sturm. Wellington, N.Z.: Wai-te-ata, 1998.
- Entries on Edith Lyttleton, Frank Anthony and Nelle Scanlan in The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 3 and 4. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland UP and Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1996 and . No further details.
- "Introduction." Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, ix-xxi. 2nd ed. 1998.
- "Popular Fiction." Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, ix-xxi. 2nd ed. 1998. 575-630.
- Twenty-one entries in The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Ed. Roger Robinson and Nelson Wattie. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, 1998.
- "Decoys of Simplicity." Rev. of Selected Poems, by Jenny Bornholdt. New Zealand Books 8.2 (1998): 11-12.
- "The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse." Talking About Books. Radio New Zealand, Sept. 1985. An extract rpt. in "Four Responses to The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse." Terry Sturm, Hirini Moko Mead, Keri Hulme and Trixie Te Arama Menzies. Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 329-336.
- In this collection of four responses to The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse (1985), Sturm asserts that the anthology’s strongest message is ‘that New Zealand has two languages’, and that the ‘older, indigenous language has never been silenced and is currently a medium of vigorous, renewed creative activity.’ Sturm also notes the continuing strong contribution of Māori women poets and the ‘fascinating accidental collisions and coincidences of perspective that occur through the interweaving of Māori- and English-language poets’. Hirini Mead’s major criticism of the anthology is the appointment of a Pakeha academic to select the anthology’s Māori material and while he does not argue with her selection and welcomes ‘the appearance of Māori texts in the book’, he contends that there are Māori who could have done the job instead. Keri Hulme states that ‘[t]here are many strange strands in the kete of New Zealand poetry....[and h]ere is an anthology which ventures with an eye to the inclusive rather that the exclusive position.’ She also notes that the editors ‘have made a conscious effort to overview much outside their natural ambit...[and] welcome within the covers of The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse the range of poetry here.’ The major thrust of Trixie Te Arama Menzies’ response is a critique of C. K. Stead’s review of the anthology. `
- "The Strong Voice Of Literature." Arts Times July/Aug. 1988: 8.
- Thomson, John. New Zealand Literature to 1977: A Guide to Information Sources. Vol. 30 in the American Literature, English Literature, and World Literatures in English Information Guide Series, Detroit, USA: Gale Research, 1980. 34, 38, 93, 104.
The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English
- Calder, Alex. Landfall 46.1 (Mar. 1992): 98-109.
- New, W. H. Landfall 46.1 (Mar. 1992): 110-112.