Nolen, Stephanie 1971-
NOLEN, Stephanie 1971-
PERSONAL: Born September 3, 1971, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Education: King's College, London, B.A., 1993; London School of Economics, M.Sc., 1994.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Knopf Canada, 1 Toronto St., Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2V6, Canada.
CAREER: Journalist. Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, foreign correspondent, 1998—.
Shakespeare's Face, Knopf (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002, Free Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Promised the Floor: The Untold Story of the FirstWomen in the Space Race, Penguin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002, 4 Walls 8 Windows (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: In her book Shakespeare's Face, Canadian journalist Stephanie Nolen chronicles a recent investigation of a possible portrait of William Shakespeare that many believe was painted from life. Since there are no existing portraits of the famous playwright known to have been created by viewing the writer—the famous bust of the bard was done from his corpse—such a discovery would be considered earth-shaking. So Nolen, a reporter with Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper, was curious when she heard about a Shakespeare portrait in the possession of a family in Ottawa. Family legend stated that an ancestor of theirs, an actor with Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, had obtained the portrait and it had passed down through the generations since. It was now housed in a cupboard in the Ottawa family's home, where it was affectionately called "Willy Shake" by family members. Nolen and the Globe and Mail staff had the portrait tested and found that the wood and paint were probably from Shakespeare's time, as was a piece of linen paper attached to the back that identified the subject of the portrait as Shakespeare. While previous examinations of the portrait were unable to prove its authenticity, Nolen records that this latest examination has also had its share of problems, including an inability to find evidence that any family member had actually been an actor. Her host of expert opinions finally ends inconclusively. Terence Hawkes in the New Statesman noted: "The professoriate contrive, one after another, to commend the painting for its interest, while withholding final acceptance of its authenticity." Noting that the modern-day story of the Toronto newspaper's erstwhile efforts to solve the riddle—while also hoping to bolster a lagging readership—is compelling, Spectator contributor Byron Rogers wrote of Shakespeare's Face: "If this had a third act it would make a superb film."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
History Today, May, 2003, review of Shakespeare'sFace, p. 72.
New Statesman, April 7, 2003, Terence Hawkes, review of Shakespeare's Face, p. 51.
Spectator, March 29, 2003, Byron Rogers, review of Shakespeare's Face, p. 44.*