The Writers of Wales Database

DAVIES, STEVIE

The English Department, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP
Email: StevieDavies@spirit.plus.com; stephanie.davies@swansea.ac.uk
Website: www.steviedavies.com
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Stevie DaviesNovelist, historian, biographer, critic. Stevie grew up in Swansea, where she is currently Professor and Director of Creative Writing. She is the biographer of Henry Vaughan and an historian of the 17th century, as well as a widely published literary critic. Her works in this field focus on the Brontë sisters, especially Emily, and also Milton, Virginia Woolf, John Donne and Shakespeare.

Stevie is also a renowned novelist. Her first novel, Boy Blue, won the Fawcett Prize (1989). Other titles have been longlisted for the Booker Prize (1994) and shortlisted for the Portico Prize (1998), the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Wales Book of the Year award twice (in 1998 and 2000). Her more recent novel, The Element of Water (Women’s Press, 2001), was longlisted for the Booker Prize and won the 2002 Wales Book of the Year. Stevie was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1998 and is also an experienced speaker, prize–judge, editor and broadcaster. She has featured in programmes for the BBC and her first play, entitled 'Unbridled Spirits', was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2001. She is a Fellow of The Welsh Academy.

Into Suez (Parthian, 2010) was on the 2011 Wales Book of the Year Long List.

Reviews:

"…She has a special talent for cutting through the apparently ordinary and finding what is remarkable underneath and, in doing so, reveals deep truths about the extremes of human nature…"
The Financial Times

"…The past haunts the present, and Davies’s characters move through the world like their own ghosts…"
The Independent on Sunday

"…A fine writer…"
The Observer

"…Davies' fusion of past and present is masterly..."
The Independent

With respect to Four Dreamers and Emily (Women’s Press, 1996)

"…poignant, funny and luminous... immensely enjoyable, lit by comedy and wisdom..."
Helen Dunmore, The Times


Selected Publications:
Fiction
Blue Boy (Women’s Press, 1987)
Primavera (Women’s Press, 1990)
Arms and the Girl (Women’s Press, 1992)
Closing the Book (Women’s Press, 1994)
Four Dreamers and Emily (Women’s Press, 1996)
The Web of Belonging (Women’s Press, 1997)
Impassioned Clay (Women’s Press, 1999)
The Element of Water (Women’s Press, 2001)
Kith and Kin (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004)
The Eyrie (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007)
Into Suez (Parthian, 2010)

Biography
Henry Vaughan (Seren, 1995)
Emily Bronte: Heretic (Women’s Press, 1999)

Criticism
Brontë Sisters: Selected Poems (Carcanet, 1976)
Renaissance Views of Man (The Greenwood Press Literature in Context Series) (Manchester University Press, 1978)
Emily Brontë: Artist as Free Woman (Carcanet, 1983)
Images of Kingship in Paradise Lost: Milton’s Politics and Christian Liberty (University of Missouri Press, 1983)
Idea of Woman in Renaissance Literature: Feminine Reclaimed (Harvester Press, 1986)
Emily Brontë (Key Women Writers Series) (Prentice Hall, 1988)
Woolf’s ’To the Lighthouse’ (Penguin Critical Studies) (Penguin, 1989)
John Milton (Harvester New Readings) (Prentice Hall, 1991)
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (Penguin Critical Studies) (Penguin, 1993)
John Donne (Writers and their Work Series) (Northcote House, 1994)
Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (Penguin Critical Studies) (Penguin, 1995)
Emily Brontë (Writers and Their Work Series) (Northcote House, 1997)

History
Unbridled Spirits: Women of the English Revolution 1640-60 (Women’s Press, 1998)
Century of Troubles (Channel 4 Books, 2001)



The Eyrie (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007)

The EyrieNobody at The Eyrie is quite like Red Dora - in her eighties, she’s a Scots ex-Communist, ex-Trotskyite who fought in the Spanish Civil War. With her fiery brand of radical anticapitalism, she conjures plans of political sabotage and computer hacking. She rails at a society that seems to have forgotten its political roots and a government that doesn’t care. But beneath her rage lies a more intimate disappointment, a tragic death she has yet to come to terms with. Eirlys is a madly patriotic Welsh woman with a brass dragon on her door. She is the ’mother’ of the The Eyrie’s little clan - always providing tea and sympathy. Little do the other residents suspect that Eirlys was once in prison…Hannah comes to The Eyrie to escape years of boredom in a dreary middle-class marriage to a man she never loved. Reveling in her new found freedom, she finds that life at The Eyrie offers surprising new opportunities and an unlikely co-conspirator in Red Dora.

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Into Suez (Parthian, 2010)

Into SuezInto Suez is an absorbing new novel by Stevie Davies who has been long-listed for both the Booker prize and twice for the Orange prize with earlier novels.

The story revolves around Ailsa, Mona and Ailsa’s husband, Joe who is a sergeant in the RAF stationed in Egypt in 1949 as part of an army of occupation. Ailsa travels to Suez on the Empire Glory with their young daughter Nia. On the journey out she develops a friendship with Mona, the exotic renegade wife of an officer. Mona is a talented pianist and a free spirit already constrained by the restrictions of post-war Britain. The journey to Suez is a release for both women. Once in Egypt the friendship strengthens against a background of growing tension as the nationalist movement gains momentum to throw away the bonds of the colonial authority while the women take risks with their own friendship and ordered lives.

Joe is caught between the changes in a world he is struggling to understand. His wife wants more freedom, echoing the needs of the country he thought he was supposed to be defending. He distrusts Mona and her strange husband who is unlike any officer he has ever met. When he tries to call his wife to order, there are devastating consequences for both of them.

Into Suez is a novel about love and relationships and the choices we make when forced to decide.

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