me

if you’re looking for my biog/s, they’re here

I’m usually writing a book and working on a few theatre projects at any one time. The other Big Thing I make and care about is Fun Palaces.

here’s a bunch of links to the books and other stuff :
Stella Duffy is the author of The Purple Shroud, Theodora – Actress, Empress, Whore, The Room of Lost Things, Parallel Lies, State of Happiness, Singling out The Couples published by Virago , Immaculate Conceit and Eating Cake (Sceptre), and the Saz Martin series published by Serpent’s Tail Calendar Girl, Wavewalker, Beneath the Blonde, Fresh Flesh and Mouths of Babes.
My short story collection Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined is published by Salt.

Theodora won Stonewall Writer of the Year in 2010. The Room of Lost Things was longlisted for the 2008 Orange Prize and won Stonewall Writer of the Year.
I’ve written ten plays and about fifty short stories, I won the 2002 CWA Short Story Dagger for Martha Grace from the Tart Noir anthology I co-edited with Lauren Henderson, and the 2013 CWA Short Story Dagger for Come Away With Me, published in Best British Mysteries 2013, edited by Maxim Jakubowski.
As a performer I’m an Associate Artist with Improbable, Associate Director with Shaky Isles, a long-term member of the impro company Spontaneous Combustion, and have guested with the Comedy Store Players. My solo show Breaststrokes was Time Out and Guardian Critic’s Choice.
I also direct theatre, primarily for Shaky Isles, and sometimes teach writing and theatre workshops, with particular interest in improvisation as a writing tool and for story work. I’m the founder of The Chaosbaby Project, a large scale physical/musical/theatre project made in Open Space with more than practitioners, over 3 years.
I have been practicing the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin with the SGI since 1986.
I’m married to the writer Shelley Silas.

tweeting @stellduffy

Responses

  1. Hi,
    Just finished The Room of Lost Things. A real pleasure. As a North Londoner it was great to get a view of South London life. Will there be a follow up?

    Thank you

  2. hi Steve, very glad you enjoyed it. you ca travel down here and get your own view you know – I recommend the 176 over Waterloo Bridge!
    No follow up planned as yet – though maybe a North London version is in order – right now I’ve just finished my first historical book and am working on the follow-up to that. (and this from a woman who thought she’d never write another series … ah well!)
    all best,
    Stella

  3. I really enjoyed your reading at DACS yesterday; truly beautiful writing. Sorry I didn’t chat more. I was too nervous before I did mine, then weak with relief once I did!

  4. it was lovely to meet you too Gail. thought it was a gorgeous event. x

  5. I stumbled (A web stumble leading to Amazon. I was actually looking information on ladybirds. No, really) upon Wavewalker.

    I felt like the time I discovered that Monet in the Tate Modern. You kind of walk by it a few times and then you take a moment to really look – to move back and examine just how amazing it is. And at that moment you feel like you’ve been a part of something pretty damn good.

    Thank you :)

  6. oh, how nice, thank you EAG. I’m very fond of Wavewalker, but – in that way many 2nd books get – it was slightly overlooked when it came out. and I rather like the idea of ladybirds leading you there … can’t think what the connection might be, but I like it anyway!

  7. Hi, Stella,
    In the midst of deep gloom about how to wind myself up to get on to page 9 of my radio play I was so cheered up by your UK Writer interview. Your comments in particular about South London (I live off the Walworth Road) and not enjoying writing only “having written ” really stuck a chord. Plus your emphasis on tenacity as a key requirement. Indeed I was so inspired that I managed to stagger to the top of page 13.First draft of course.
    Best wishes,
    Stephen Wyatt
    PS I am already devoted to Shelley who was on the committee that gave me the Tinniswood last year.

  8. yay for tenacity Stephen! and yes, yay for just doing it anyway, what with it being the job and all (11pm and still working!)
    I used to live off the Walworth Rd for some time too – Penton Place. and was an avid eater of Arif’s bakery’s spinach pie. mmm.
    good luck with the next … er, 50-odd pages!?!
    x
    (I really like the WG magazine, that and the Author’s Soc one, often have pieces that inspire and encourage me)

  9. and good luck to you!
    and to Arif’s bakery!
    S

  10. Dear Stella,
    i’m italian and i don’t write english very well… so… i like so much your novels and Saz Martin specially. I find your books only one month ago. The calendar girl is wonderful. I like also The Wavewalker e Beneath the blond. I love your sense of humor. Thank you very much for the good time you give to me. I don’t know what i’ve wrote. Sorry for my terrifiyng mistakes! Good luck for all…

  11. ah, thank you so much for telling me – and you’re english is fine, FAR better than my Italian (dispiace!). I hope enjoy like the rest fo the series as it goes on …
    x

  12. You replay to me… wow! :) I’ll read all your books translate in italian. I think that Saz Martin’s stories wil be wonderful movies. It’s not possible to do? Ciao, in bocca al lupo per tutto [Hi, good luck for all]

  13. “Saz Martin’s stories COULD BE wonderful movies”… better? Sorry for my terrible english. I’m sure that in 2009 it’s better dont’ know italian that english! Bye…

  14. well, there has been, on and off over years, interest in them as tv … but it never got past the option stage. everyone wants detectives, everyone (says) they want a strong young woman protagonist, and they all (again, say) they want to find a good gay woman protagonist .. and yet the three things together seem slighty too much to ask!

  15. Hi Stella, greetings once more from across the world. Like TheRose above, I was so so chuffed to have a reply from you last time I wrote (years ago, now).
    I have been trying to remember the book and the passage when you give an amazing biblical response to a nasty father. My son is a born again and is being steered away from the pinko liberal upbringing I gave him :) . He is being told the Bible says homosexuality is wrong – I want to counter that. I know I should just prob hit the library and read all your books again (and I will in time – they are all so fantastic), but they are also so powerful that I need a few years in between consumption.

    Anyway. If you get a chance (as I hate to steer you into blogging not writing) some extra ammo in the fight to keep my kid broadminded would be appreciated.

    Thanks so much,
    Rachel from Auckland :)

  16. thanks for your message Rachel. er, I can’t remember either!! I suspect it’s probably in one of the Saz books, most likely Beneath the Blonde … though maybe not. sorry.
    but here’s what I’d say if I were you : the CHRISTIAN gospels (ie, if you believe the divinely-inspired words that tell the truth of the Christ) don’t even mention homosexuality. so then the question is do you care about the church of Jesus (ie, he who suggested we turn the other cheek, throw stones if we haven’t sinned ourselves), or the Church of St Paul – in which case, there’s a whole lot of other injunctions to obey as well, including perceiving women to be subordinate to men … which again, Jesus didn’t seem to do when among his last words on the cross were care for Mary. (not to mention the time he spent with Martha & Mary …)
    Then again, if the injunctions against homosexuality come from the Old Testament then a) they’re using Judaism not Christianity in their condemnation (and there are plenty of Jews who wouldn’t do that), b) the punishment of Sodom & Gomorrah was not for homosexual acts, it was for being rude to the angels who turned up (read it, that IS all it says), and c) even if you do decide to follow the rules of Deuteronomy & Leviticus against homosexuality, then perhaps it’s a little selective to only obey those ones and not also those that say you shouldn’t wear clothes form mixed fibres (no silk lining on a tweed coat for eg, no cotton-linen mix), you should rotate your crops every 7 years (that includes the home garden), and you should either marry your daughter to the man who rapes her, or stone her to death.
    I’m all for people having faith, have really benefited from both my Catholic upbringing (how else could I refute all the above??!! or know some great nuns who live fully in the Church and don’t bow down to any of the nastiness about sexuality) and the Buddhism I’ve chosen to practice for the past 24 years. I hope your son can find an accommodation between faith (his relationship with the divine, however he perceives that) and day to day life – where we are all here to work with and live with each other. ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ is always useful. (As is, for a bit more old testament, “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” – ie, get on with what you do, get o with your own life, and leave the judging up to the G-d the born-agains say they believe in so fervently.)
    good luck!!!
    Stella xx
    ps – and my new book Theodora, out June 3rd in the UK, has quite a lot about the early church, it’s set in 500AD – you’d be surprised how different current Christian beliefs are now to what was going on then. it ALL changes … and will continue to do so.

  17. You are astounding – prompt and thorough. Thank you.
    When will Theodora hit EnZed? I will definitely have a look. Will also see if I can find the quote – will let you know.
    Darn it – am going to have to do a bit of brain work now – have been pretty mentally lazy; am now motivated to do a bit of Buddist research too.
    Cheers :)

  18. Dear Stella,
    I saw you at a Literary festival in Beverley, East Yorks six years ago. I was in a very bad place at the time, in a marriage yet definitely gay, scared. You made a comment that you were living the life you chose. I saw you at Ylaf some time later, and told you what you said had had a profound influence that had on me.
    Well my girlfriend and I have just had a civil partnership and I am happier than I have ever been. You gave me the confidence to be true to myself and sort my life out, thank you soo much.
    On a much lighter note are you doing any book signings near Bath/Bristol? We would love to see you down here, cant wait to read Theodora.
    Thank you Stella x

  19. oh no! I wrote a long response which appears to have disappeared! so glad things have worked out for you Michele, and thanks for for letting me know. I always hope that when I do events it will be more than ‘just’ a book reading and maybe be of greater value to people somehow – even if it just means turning out for their local library or bookshops! so I’m delighted that my own being out has been of value to you.
    No plans for Bristol or Bath right now (though feel free to suggest your library considers an event!!) but I will be at Cheltenham this year, date tbc. maybe see you then,
    Stella x

  20. I come to your blog from seeing the Guardian article about Theodora, which I’ve passed on to an American sociologist, Daughter of long-standing friends: Christina Nippert-Eng. And from having met you on one or two literary occasions through my friend Tom Wakefield, I’ve maintained a watch on your progress. Basically, I liked you, which is human, if not logical.
    Anyway, what I want to say is that, if you go for the Biblical stuff, it’s worth pointing out that in Leviticus, it’s addressed throughout to the “Children of Israel”. Personally, I’m not even Jewish, as Woodie Allan says he is, so I don’t see that it applies. But why fight on your opponent’s ground; the whole thing is a load of nonsense.
    Personally I find organised religion morally neutral, giving good people a motive to do good, and the reverse.

  21. human, not logical, works for me, thanks Brian. I do know that the Leviticus stuff (as is Deuteronomy of course) is addressed to Jews, but St Paul isn’t, and he too has his moments of homophobia and misogyny … so I feel it’s always as well not to divide the peoples of the book too firmly, there’s a lot of inter-textuality, and pointing out the illogicality in one can often show the same in the other.
    The Guardian article has been getting a lot of attention today, good and bad. I’m glad it brought you here, this way you can keep an even closer eye on my progress!

  22. Dear Stella,

    I’ve just finished reading an article about you in The Standard and, gee I don’t know – I just wanted to write.
    I also went to tough little school in NZ, with predominately Polynesian and Maori classmates (who I loved,) and then I came over here to train at drama school. I’ve ended up doing a lot of acting, but also writing and producing films (my first feature http://www.sisterhoodfilm.com about a Kiwi farmgirl who comes to London!)
    But I’ve found it so perplexing that it is so difficult to get a film funded with a female as the lead protagonist, or in fact a group of women in an ensemble that isn’t some sort of romantic chic flick (which is fine but I’m making a Western.)
    All the films I write have female roles equally interesting and diverse as the men’s, regardless of whether a distributor thinks it should be played by a bloke – because I have faith that a female audience will be loyal – but many of them, do not.
    So I wanted to say, thank you for writing these brilliant – commercial – wonderful female characters, who are that – characters – regardless of whether they are women or men, they still would be fascinating.
    I only hope I get to act in one of your plays one day!

  23. ah Emily, thank you. yes, it’s a great piece and I’m v excited about the book. I also work with an NZ theatre company here, Shaky Isles, lots of us making work and making it on shoestrings (and smaller) :

    http://www.shakyislestheatre.com/main.php

    will email you,
    Stella

  24. Hi Stella,

    You were funny as fook at Duckie on Saturday, only wish you were on for longer.

    I got some nice snaps of you and wondered if you would like me to email them to you?

    If so feel free to use them as you please

    love and light!

    Lee B
    x

  25. hi Lee, we had a great time and will certainly try a longer set next time if we can! (it’s early days in our playing with B&J yet!)
    would love to see some pics, can’t manage to get your message here to show me an email, if you send me another message with email I won’t put it through on here, but will email you privately so you could send on pics – thank you! x

  26. Hi I LOVE your work and feel so blessed to have discovered you. I ADORE Theodora (is it so wrong that i am reading it like a self-help manual?) and have blogged about it here:

    http://mysticmedusa.com/2010/10/08/asteroid-theodora-and-byzantine-role-models/

    Am now reading out Singling Out The Couples & love it too, though Theodora is one of my all-time faves. I was born in NZ too…

  27. Wow, thank you. I haven’t thought about it as a self-help book!, but she was certainly a self-empowered character to play with. Grew up in nz, not born there, but entire childhood, so a very kiwi start …
    X

  28. [...] Stella’s written 12 novels (and 40 short stories and 8 plays) so she knows what she’s talking about and she’s a lively and entertaining speaker.   [...]

  29. Listening to Whispers – Radion 4 extra – your laugh is so particular.

  30. Particularly excessive, I fear!

  31. Hello Stella,

    It was great to hear you on Pick of the Week and you chose some great stuff- so lovely to hear an extract from The Belle Dress again. It was a very varied and moving selection.I hope they ask you to do it again soon.

    Best wishes,

    Laura Skorupa (former Spontaneous Combustion “student”)

  32. Thanks Laura, gorgeous story, wasn’t it? And great to hear from you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 522 other followers

%d bloggers like this: