Edward Callan was born in Ireland and educated there as well as in England, South Africa, and the United States. He studied and taught in South Africa between 1937 and 1949, and served with the South African Field Artillery in North Africa and Italy in World War II. After the war he earned advanced degrees at South African and American universities. He first met Alan Paton in 1948 and became a lifelong friend.
Dr. Callan came to the United States in 1952. He is an emeritus professor of English at Western Michigan University and has written extensively on Cry, the Beloved Country, Paton's poetry and non-fiction prose, other topics about South Africa and poet W.B. Yeats.