Bruce lives in Ruby Bay, Nelson, and has lived and worked in East Africa, North America, Europe and the Pacific. He started writing in the 1990s when working as a business consultant. He was keen for businesses to be more aware of their environmental and social impacts, and sent some ideas to the Accountants Journal (then NZ’s leading business periodical, circulation 26,000). The editor replied: ‘I will publish everything you write.’ Many articles followed, two of them short-listed in the British Commonwealth Media Awards. He also wrote a book, Accounting for a Clean Green Environment, jointly with accountants KPMG, and highly commended by former PM Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
Other projects have included reports on business and climate change, press releases and articles while working as a volunteer in post-conflict Solomon Islands, and work with a Nelson manufacturer, helping to establish it as ‘world’s best’ in its industry.
More recently he wrote a book in Scotland, Walking with James Hogg, based on his ancestor’s journeys through the Highlands and Islands from 1802. Hogg was a poet, a shepherd and an eccentric who wrote a strange book, Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Ian Rankin said this book is ‘still urgent in the 21st century.’ Irvine Welsh called it ‘one of the most brilliant books ever written.’
Bruce’s book, which includes his own misadventures along with his ancestor’s, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2016. He was invited to speak on this at the Edinburgh International Book Festival – ‘the largest public celebration of the written word in the world.’ Studies in Scottish Literature called the book ‘highly original’ and said – rather boldly – it was better than Bill Bryson could’ve written. Award-winning novelist James Robertson called it ‘a charming mix of biography, travelogue and memoir.’