Spotlight On Writers - Stephen Kingsnorth, interview at

Spotlight On Writers – Stephen Kingsnorth

Spotlight On Writers

Stephen Kingsnorth


  1. Where, do you hail from?
Born in outer London, my primary schooling was on a large post-war housing estate. I spent first unhappy secondary years at a city ‘grammar’ until 14, when father decided to move the family to the rural countryside of Devon – where I first learnt that milk came from cows. My bad academic record improved vastly through encouraging teachers, and supportive faith communities. Mentors encouraged me in my creative life, as I auditioned for the National Youth Theatre and applied to read English Literature at university. Following a year volunteer teaching immigrants back in London, I studied at Cambridge for 5 years,. My privilege came through serendipity, grasping opportunities and grace!
  1. What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

I trained for Methodist ministry, so my ‘home’ around the UK changed several times, including Liverpool, though my final 20 years was spent in a non-congregational community ‘chaplaincy’ in Warrington – the adopted town which gave me the Freedom of the borough, when I retired through the onset of Parkinson’s. My wife and I live now in Wales (the nearest house that we could afford!) in a village where our small cottage overlooks wonderful scenery and buzzards wheel above our heads, with good neighbours and doctor!

  1. What turns you on creatively?

I am excited by ekphrastic prompts, possibilities with wordplay, and smithery generally. I do tend to write in metric forms, rooted in the first poetry I met in my adolescent years; reflections on the past 70 years are often my inspiration.

  1. What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?


Genetic codes, experience,
the fall of serendipity,
they all combined in who I am,
prospectus for wordsmithery.
When serendipity appeared
(‘divine’ seemed blaming God for much –
their absence, trinity, from most)
they claimed the same brought privilege –
and I could not agree the more
that fortune’s door opened for me;
I did grab, grasp it with all means,
my mentors, training, family,
the opportunities of wealth
in academe, for those who would.

  1. What is your pet peeve?

Reading the poetry of others, I too quickly think of ways in which it might, in my view, be improved, having forgotten that someone else has given birth to their best!

  1. What defines Stephen Kingsnorth?

A lifelong family pilgrim (less certainties with every passing year), whose Parkinson symptoms are relieved by distraction, which affords me hours – when I might otherwise be walking the hills – seated at the laptop writing poetry instead!

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This publication is part 327 of 408 in the series Spotlight On Writers