Stephen was born in 1958 and grew up on the Linksfield Road council estate in Westgate-on-Sea. He attended King Ethelbert School and then worked for Leadbeater Homes, Westgate Chauffeur Taxis and finally for Godden and Lawson as a groundworker. Aged 30, he left Thanet and moved to Swindon in search of fame and fortune. As one might imagine, that didn’t quite pan out, but ever the optimist he hasn’t given up just yet.
Aged 40 he was diagnosed with a chronic arthritic condition and, unable to work manually anymore, he was forced to give up his job as a carpenter. A year later he signed up at his local college to study English Literature and from there to Bath Spa University where he gained a BA with Honours in English and then an MA in Creative Writing.
Now, Stephen divides his working life teaching English and creative writing and has taught creative writing to students from a variety of backgrounds and in a variety of locations, including Broadmoor Hospital, Alcoholics Anonymous, MIND, Bath Spa University and the Open University – where he has taught for the past 15 years. He is the founder/organiser of ‘The Squat Pen Rests short-story writing Championship of the World.’ And is a sucker for competitions with long titles that make outrageous claims.
He has had three short plays performed in Bath as well as reading several of his short stories in locations in Brighton and Bristol. He has read his work at the Guild Hall during the Bath Literature Festival and at other venues in the city and has had his short stories published online and in print. Recently he was long-listed from over 1800 writers by Penguin Random House to be part of their award winning programme, WriteNow, which aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves.
Stephen identifies as a working-class writer despite the protestations of his two grown up children, who tell him he stopped being working class when he turned 40. However, he continues to write about working class people and is currently writing a collection of darkly humorous short and flash fictions called ‘The View from the Gasworks’ inspired by the working class people he grew up with in Westgate.