Kenneth Steven is first and always a poet. To survive as a literary author he’s had to become many other things as a writer – he translated the Norwegian novel The Half Brother, he’s a children’s picture book and story writer, he’s an essayist and a feature writer – but it’s poetry and the love of poetry that lies at the heart of it all. His volume of selected poems Iona appeared from Paraclete Press in the States a couple of years ago. His numerous collections have sold many thousands of copies, and he has a strong name as a poet thanks to the poetry-related features he’s written and presented over long years: his programme A Requiem for St Kilda having won a Sony Gold for Radio 4.
His poetry has been inspired primarily by place. He grew up on the edge of the Scottish Highlands with a profound awareness of that world: his mother’s people were Gaelic speakers from Wester and Easter Ross. It’s the wildscape of Highland Scotland that pours through his pen.
It’s that same wildscape he seeks to capture as a painter. He and his wife Kristina live on the Scottish west coast, and it’s the ever-changing colours of sea and sky he loves so much: the myriad blues and the incredible beauty of the light.