Biography

General

Born in Sussex, with an English father and Irish mother. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and Kent University. In 2004 she  graduated with an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Glasgow University.

Her novel for teenagers 'The Triple Spiral' was published by Walker Books, 1989. She has had a number of drama-documentary scripts broadcast on BBC Schools Radio. Her first poetry pamphlet, 'Glass Works' (Cat's Pyjamas Publications, 2005) was short-listed for the Callum McDonald Award and her latest pamphlet 'Flout' published by HappenStance launched at StAnza, 2015.

She has read at many poetry festivals, including Strokestown (2009), Poetry on the Lake (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016), StAnza, Scotland's Poetry Festival (2015) and at the Soundwaves Festival in Skerries, Ireland (2015) and with others at the Edinburgh Fringe as part of 'Loose Tongues'.

A former English and Drama teacher, she has taught at all levels from primary to undergraduate, lecturing on Modernism at Aberystwyth University briefly, and was a tutor of Creative Writing in Adult Education for many years in Wales and most recently at the Office of Lifelong Learning, University of Edinburgh. 

Trained as a puppeteer, she has worked at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington and at the In the Heart of the Beast Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. and has written about puppets and alternative theatre,  travelling the world to see traditional puppetry, masks and dance drama.  She now works as a Theatre and Dance reviewer on a freelance basis.

She enjoys working on various collaborations: her poem 'The Child of Breckon Sands' was set to music for voice and piano by Marisa Sharon Hartanto and performed by mezzo-soprano,  Alison Wells at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney, 2013; her poem 'Light' was part of an installation in the 'Dark Closes' project in Dumfries, 2015; her poem 'Ayre' inspired a dance piece choreographed by Matthew Hawkins and performed by Platinum Dance at the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, 2015 and recently, (2015/6) she collaborated with Sound Artiste, Sonja Heyer on 'Berlin Umbrella' a site-specific  'aural walk' which will be performed in Berlin in 2018 (TBC).

After 13 years living in Mid-Wales, she moved to Edinburgh in late 1999 where she lives with her husband.  They have one grown-up son.

IN MORE DETAIL

Stephanie's Yorkshire paternal grand-father (Green) owned a company making fake Tudor panelling, still to be seen around Britain in pubs, clubs and the R.A.F. Officers' mess at Uxbridge where, co-incidentally, her father was a member. Whether this is a tasteful contribution to the history of Britain's interior decoration is a matter of opinion.  

Her Irish forbears on her mother's side include Percy French, the Edwardian singer/songwriter, famed for 'The Mountains of Mourne', 'Phil the Fluter's Ball' and Abdul the Bulbul Ameer' amongst many other well-known songs. 

Stephanie chose to study at Trinity College, Dublin in order to explore her Irish roots and meet her relatives. Since then, she has lived in London and Bristol but has spent the majority of time living in Celtic lands: Cornwall, Wales and currently, Scotland.  She learnt Welsh whilst living in Wales, fluent enough to teach in primary schools through the medium of Welsh. 

She has alternated many jobs with writing spells: apart from teaching, freelance  journalism and editing, she has been a  strawberry picker in Sussex, a  secretary to a paleontologist whose office overlooked the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, London, and lasted two days photocopying for British Rail in the then semi-derelict Midland Hotel, near Kings Cross; a  pub worker (memorably at the King's Head Theatre pub),  a chamber maid, cook and hotel manageress at the Old School Hotel, Port Isaac, Cornwall (well-known to TV viewers as the primary school in the  sitcom  'Morgan.' ) Whilst in Cornwall, Stephanie also worked as a volunteer Drama therapist, assistant to the actress,  Jill La Mede at the Tavistock National School for Autistic Children.

Back in  the 1970s she trained as a puppeteer and learnt to carve puppets under the tutelage of the  legendary John Wright at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington where she also took part in 'black' theatre, manipulated hand puppets, rod puppets and marionettes. She also worked as a lighting assistant to Jacob and Suzanne Jacobson, who now run the Munich Puppet Theatre.

A renewed interest in puppetry led to a voluntary job in 1999 working for 'In the Heart of the Beast' puppet and mask radical theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota for their May Day parade and performance to over 2,000 people in Powderhorn Park. She edited BrUnima's academic publication specializing in world puppetry (British/L'Union Internationale des Marionettes), and became a theatre reviewer of puppetry and alternative theatre. 

In 2000 she won a scholarship from BrUnima to attend and review a puppetry festival in Cheliabinsk, the Urals, which involved a (2 nights and one day) train trip half way across Russia. Since then she has interviewed many of the world's most famous alternative/puppet theatre directors including Phillipe Genty, (Paris), Peter Schuman of Bread and Puppets (Vermont, U.S.A.), Josef Krofta of Drak (Hradis Kralova, Czech Republic) , Wayan Wija, dahlang puppet master in Bali and not least, many Professor Punches in the U.K.

2012 and 2013  she was invited to be the Guest Blogger at StAnza (Scotland's poetry festival)  and in 2012 organized a mini-Poetry Fest: 'Poetry in the Persian Tent', a charity fund-raising series  as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace, involving a fantastic line-up of 15 poets, including Liz Lochhead, Marie Howe and Jackie Kay.  She has also been part of the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries' Read Aloud team who visit care homes to read poems and sing songs to stimulate reminiscences. 

Her hobby is dancing (having studied Martha Graham technique at the Place, London in her 20s and later Merce Cunningham) then after years of non-dancing, she started again as a member of Golden, a community group of over 60s at Dancebase, Edinburgh, who occasionally  perform with professional companies, notably Barrowland Ballet and Oceanallover.