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Stevie Davies
Stevie Davies
Fellow at Swansea University, 2001-03

Advisory Fellow, 2003-05

Project Fellow, 2003/04

Stevie Davies is a novelist, literary critic, biographer and historian. She was born in Wales and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Member of the Academi Gymreig.

Her first novel, Boy Blue (1987) won the Fawcett Society Book Prize in 1989. Closing the Book (1994) was on the longlist for the Booker Prize, and the shortlist for the Fawcett Society Book Prize. Her fifth novel, Four Dreamers and Emily, described as 'poignant, funny and luminous... immensely enjoyable, lit by comedy and wisdom' (Helen Dunmore, The Times) was published in 1996. The Web of Belonging (1997) was shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Prize and the Portico Prize. Impassioned Clay (1999), was shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Prize and her latest novel, The Element of Water (2001), was longlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize.

In her non-fiction, as in her fiction, Stevie Davies does not confine herself to one specialist area. She writes with authority and understanding on a range of subjects from the radical women of the English Revolution to the writings of Virginia Woolf; from Milton, Donne and Shakespeare to the Brontë Sisters. Unbridled Spirits:Women of the English Revolution (1998) won much critical acclaim. Stevie's latest non-fiction work A Century of Troubles: England 1600-1700 (2001) accompanies the Channel 4 series of documentary films about the century.

In addition to writing, reviewing, and editing, Stevie Davies is also a lecturer and has featured in programmes for the BBC. Stevie's first play: Unbridled Spirits was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Sept 2001.

Project Fellowship
Stevie's research project for the RLF examines the nature and value of the private one-to-one exchange between Fellow and student, in a dimension beyond the technical give and take of information, exploring the gifts which writers bring to their mentees and shedding light on why writers are especially suited to the task. What are the qualities which might writers bring to the unconventional role of supporting student writing, rather than teaching creative writing or literature?

This issue is of particular relevance because the scheme is sometimes seen as open to criticism, in that it employs writers beyond their ‘proper sphere’, which is assumed to be the teaching of creative writing and literature. However, writers are viewed by the scheme as experts in language as the common medium of communication, practitioners of a craft adaptable to all fields of academic endeavour: what qualities do they bring to the tuition of students? Do writers excel in their ability to evince clarity in their students, through listening skills? In their one-to-one discussions, are they demonstrably able to make a difference to the student’s perceptions and understanding, because they bring uniquely writerly qualities to the task? If so, what are the parameters of these (since writers differ as individuals do)?

The project also explores what students take away from their encounter with RLF Fellows, above and beyond the power to write an essay or put together a curriculum vitae, as a result of the intensive and personal work undertaken in a one-to-one relationship, within an ever more impersonal and stressful academic context.

'There are good writers, there are very good writers. And then there is Stevie Davies in a class of her own.' The Independent

'Awe-inspiringly sensitive.' New Welsh Review

'Her greatest strength - besides powerful writing, fine character drawing and splendid story-telling - is honesty.' The Times

'Her humanity in dealing with her central characters, warts and all, is a triumph of warmth.' Morning Star

'It is characteristic of Stevie Davies' writing that she shocks the reader with the selfish brutality of the husband's treatment of his wife and then rends the heart with the understanding of his pain.' The Guardian