Conn, Stewart 1936-

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CONN, Stewart 1936-

PERSONAL: Born November 5, 1936, in Glasgow, Scotland; married Judith Ann Clarke, 1963; children: two sons. Education: Attended University of Glasgow.

ADDRESSES: Home—1 Fettes Row, Edinburgh EH3 6SF, Scotland. Agent—Lemon, Unna & Durbridge, Ltd., 24-32 Pottery Lane, London W11 4LZ, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Poet and playwright. British Broadcasting Corp., Edinburgh, Scotland, began as radio drama producer in Glasgow, Scotland, became senior drama producer for BBC-Radio Scotland, 1962-92. Director of numerous radio plays, beginning 1964. Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland, literary advisor, 1973-75; president, Edinburgh Shore Poets, 1993—; served on literature and drama panels of the Scottish Arts Council; Queen Margaret University College, visiting lecturer, 2001. Military service: Royal Air Force.

AWARDS, HONORS: Eric Gregory Award, 1963; Scottish Arts Council, poetry prize and publication award, 1968, award, 1978; Edinburgh Festival Fringe awards for drama, 1981, 1988; travel fellowship, English-Speaking Union, 1984; fellow, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, 1990; drama award, New York International Radio Festival, 1991; grant from Society of Authors, 1996; Poet Laureate of Edinburgh, 2002.

WRITINGS:

poetry

The Chinese Tower, M. Macdonald (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1967.

Thunder in the Air, Akros Publications (Preston, Lancashire, England), 1967.

Stoats in the Sunlight, Hutchinson (London, England), 1968, published as Ambush and Others Poems, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1970.

(With others) Corgi Modern Poets in Focus 3, edited by Dannie Abse, Corgi (London, England), 1971.

An Ear to the Ground, Hutchinson (London, England), 1972.

Under the Ice, Hutchinson (London, England), 1978.

In the Kibble Palace: New and Selected Poems, Blood-axe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1987.

The Luncheon of the Boating Party, Bloodaxe (New-castle upon Tyne, England), 1991.

At the Aviary, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1995.

In the Blood, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1995.

Stolen Light: Selected Poems, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1999.

(With Anne Crowe) L'Anima del Teixidor, Proa/Ossa Menor (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

Distances: A Personal Evocation of People and Places (poetry and prose), Scottish Cultural Press (Dalkeith, Scotland), 2001.

Work represented in anthologies, including Twelve More Modern Scottish Poets, edited by Charles King and Ian Crichton Smith, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1986; The Best of Scottish Poetry, 1989; and The Faber Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry, 1992. Contributor to periodicals, including Poetry.

plays

Break-Down, produced in Glasgow, Scotland, 1961.

Any Following Spring (radio play), 1962.

Cadenza for Real (radio play), 1963.

Song of the Clyde (radio play), 1964.

Birds in a Wilderness, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1964.

I Didn't Always Live Here (produced in Glasgow, Scotland, 1967), included in The Aquarium, The Man in the Green Muffler, I Didn't Always Live Here, [also see below], 1976.

The King (produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1967; produced in London, England, 1972), published in New English Dramatists 14, Penguin (London, England), 1970.

The Canary Cage (radio play), 1967.

Broche, produced in Exeter, England, 1968.

Fancy Seeing You, Then (produced in London, England, 1974), published in Playbill Two, edited by Alan Durband, Hutchinson (London, England), 1969.

Victims (includes The Sword, In Transit, and The Man in the Green Muffler; produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1970), In Transit published separately, Breakthrough Press (New York, NY), 1972, The Man in the Green Muffler also included in The Aquarium, The Man in the Green Muffler, I Didn't Always Live Here, [also see below], 1976.

The Burning (produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1971), Calder & Boyars (London, England), 1973, and published in Scottish Plays of the 70's, Scottish Cultural Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2001.

A Slight Touch of the Sun, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1972.

The Aquarium (produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1973), included in The Aquarium, The Man in the Green Muffler, I Didn't Always Live Here, [also see below], 1976.

Wally Dugs Go in Pairs (television play), 1973.

Count Your Blessings, produced in Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland, 1975.

Thistlewood (produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1975), Woodhouse (Todmorden, Lancashire, England), 1979.

The Aquarium, The Man in the Green Muffler, I Didn't Always Live Here, Calder (London, England), 1976.

Play Donkey (produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1977), Woodhouse (Todmorden, Lancashire, England), 1980.

(With Stephen Macdonald) Billy Budd (adaptation of the novel by Herman Melville), produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1978.

Hecuba, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1979; revised version produced in Glasgow, Scotland, 1989.

The Kite (television play), 1979.

Herman, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1981; produced in London, England, 1986.

Too Late the Phalarope (radio play; adaptation of the novel by Alan Paton), 1984.

Blood Hunt (television play), 1986.

By the Pool, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1988; produced in London, England, 1989.

Hugh Miller, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1988.

The Dominion of Fancy, produced in Pitlochry, Tayside, Scotland, 1992.

Mission Boy, produced by Theater for Africa, in Grahamstown, South Africa, 1996, and in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1998.

Beside the Ocean of Time (radio play; adaptation of a novel by George Mackay Brown), 1997.

Clay Bull, produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1998.

Greenvoe (radio play; based on a novel by George Mackay Brown), 1998.

other

(Editor) New Poems 1973-74, Hutchinson (London, England), 1974.

(Editor) Faber Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry, Faber (London, England), 1992.

(Editor, with Ian McDonough) The Ice Horses, Scottish Cultural Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1996.

(Editor and author of introduction) Iain Crichton Smith, Murdo: The Life and Works, Birlinn (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2001.

Writer for the radio broadcast The Living Poet, 1989. Contributor to periodicals, including Chicago and Observer.

Conn's manuscripts are collected at the Scottish National Library, Edinburgh, Scotland.

SIDELIGHTS: Stewart Conn is an accomplished poet and playwright whose work often revolves around domestic conflict. His poetry collections include Under the Ice, which features poems dealing with love and daily experience; The Luncheon of the Boating Party, whose title poem presents the poet exploring the characters in a Renoir painting; and At the Aviary, which is set in South Africa. Conn's plays include The Burning, which is set in sixteenth-century Scotland amidst the power struggle between James VI of Scotland and the Earl of Bothwell; according to Jonathan Hammond in Contemporary Dramatists, the play's "characters are vibrant with life, and reflect the underlying moral and ethical problems posed by a commitment to one side or the other, in a powerful and an exact way." In The Aquarium, a son attempts to break out of the tight grip of his demanding father, while in Count Your Blessings, a dying man reflects on his life. Concluded Hammond: "The metaphorical connotations of Conn's best plays are strengthened by his feeling for dramatic construction, his understanding of individual psychology, and his basic interest in violence and its causes, both individual and in society at large." Jonathan Hammond also quoted Conn in Contemporary British Dramatists as commenting: "My plays are about human beings, and about the dilemma of human choice. I interpret this dilemma in moral terms, and visualize the characters in the plays, and their relationships, as revolving around it."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

books

Contemporary Dramatists, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.

Contemporary Poets, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 233: British and Irish Dramatists since World War II, Second Series, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Smith, Iain Crichton, Towards the Human, M. Macdonald (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1987.

periodicals

Booklist, March 1, 2000, Ray Olson, review of Stolen Light: Selected Poems, p. 1190.

School Librarian, winter, 1999, review of Stolen Light, p. 219.

Scotsman, October 30, 1971, interview by Allen Wright.

Scottish Theatre, March, 1969, interview by James Aitchison.

Scottish Theatre News, August, 1981, interview by Joyce McMillan.

Times Literary Supplement, August 13, 1999, Gerald Mangan, review of Stolen Light, p. 8.*