A writer, artist and storyteller, Ian Stephen was born in Stornoway in 1955 and still lives on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He studied English, Drama and Education at Aberdeen University. After 15 years in the coastguard, he became a full-time writer of poetry, prose and drama in 1995.
He was the inaugural winner of the Christian Salvesen/Robert Louis Stevenson award in 1995, and in 2004, he was the first artist in residence at StAnza, Scotland’s annual poetry festival. He was given a Creative Scotland Award (2002-3) to sail through the geography of Scottish maritime stories. He navigated the sea-route, suggested by a traditional story, connecting Sweden and the north of Scotland and the story was sent as instalments by satellite-phone to a computer at the 50th Venice Biennale.
Among his earlier poetry publications are Malin, Hebrides, Minches, with photos by Sam Maynard (Dangaroo Press, Denmark, 1983) and Varying States of Grace (Polygon, 1989). It’s about this (Nomad/ Survivors Press, 2004), from a poem-log of a voyage to Orkney, was commissioned by StAnza. A bilingual edition of his poetry, Adrift / Napospas vlnám, was published in Czech in 2007. In 2016 Saraband published his selection from 35 years of making poetry from observing seaways and shorelines as Maritime.