Stephany Evans Steggall
My childhood dream of becoming a writer came true with the publication of my first book, Can I Call You Colin: The Authorised Biography of Colin Thiele in 2004. I enjoy speaking about my writing life, sharing the wonderful experience of each book. This has been particularly true since my most recent books have taken me to distant shores.
My books are mainly biographies: Interestingly Enough: The Life of Tom Keneally (2015), Bruce Dawe: Life Cycle (2009), and The Loved and The Lost: The Life of Ivan Southall (2006). Sundry titles include Yours sincerely, Colin Thiele: A Final Tribute (2008), Status and Sugar: A History of the Australian Society of Authors 1963-2013 and family and institutional histories.
In 2016-17, I was a volunteer teacher at an international school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after which I wrote a creative nonfiction book: A Time To Be Born: The Feyisa Lilesa Story (2021), the first of my books protesting human rights abuse and social injustice. The Eritrean Letter Writers: Dear Mr President (2021) and Chosen: The Girl with Green Eyes (2022), a story from Afghanistan, followed.
Rescuing Árni, a historical novel about the Icelander who rescued the sole survivor from the Dunbar shipwreck, Sydney 1857, shall be published in June 2024.
I was awarded a PhD in Australian Literature from the University of Queensland in 2005 and I won the Hazel Rowley Fellowship in 2013 to write the authorised biography of Tom Keneally.
In 2021 I had the pleasure of attending a presentation given by Stephany Steggall about her book ‘A Time To Be Born: The Feyisa Lilesa Story’.
All who attended were mesmerised by Stephany’s recounting of her journey with this book: its inspiration, the challenges and joys she faced, her meticulous research and travel to Ethiopia and the writing of the book.
The audience was inspired and deeply moved by Stephany’s presentation which opened a window into Ethiopian culture. Even more inspiring and moving, however, was learning of the personal journey of Feyisa Lilesa which Stephany described so well.
Stephany is an engaging and inspirational speaker who brings her subject matter to life, allowing her audience to immerse themselves in the story.
Martha Follent, Brisbane 2021
Stephany Steggall is an eclectic researcher and author. I have personally recommended her as a potential Colin Roderick lecturer to the Foundation for Australian Literary studies at James Cook University. During the memorable year we worked together at an international school in Ethiopia, Stephany inspired her public speaking students to great success.
Rob Handicott, retired Sr English Teacher and Plain English Speaking Award Coordinator (NQ)
Stephany Steggall won the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship in 2013. She accepted the award at Adelaide Writers’ Week in front of a large audience. By 2015 Stephany had written “Interestingly Enough: The Life of Tom Keneally”, acknowledged as a well-researched and highly acclaimed biography. The biography was launched in Sydney by Geraldine Doogue, with Tom Keneally in attendance. Stephany spoke compellingly about the process of writing her book. In 2016 three Fellowship winners talked at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. Stephany spoke interestingly about the delicacies, advantages and limitations of being the biographer of a famous subject who is still alive and who she wanted to authorise her work.
Stephany has helped publicise the Fellowship in many ways including by speaking on video and always follows our progress with interest and enthusiasm.
Hazel Rowley Fellowship, 2013