Stephen May (novelist)

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Stephen May (born 1964) is a British novelist, playwright and TV writer.[1][2][3][4]


Born in 1964, May grew up in Bedford and was educated at Bedford Modern School and the University of Essex.[2][5][6][7]

After university, May was variously a barman, warehouseman, museum attendant, television writer and teacher.[1] He had his first child while still at college after which he spent several years of struggle to support his family.[1] This period of his life ‘largely informs his writing, and permeates through his first novel’ TAG which was on the 2009 Wales Book of the Year Long List.[1] The book also won the Media Wales Peoples Choice award.

May's second novel, Life! Death! Prizes! was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the 2012 Costa Book Awards.[2][8] The novel is narrated by Billy, a mixed-up teenager, struggling to raise his little brother after the death of their mother.[2][9] It earned May comparisons to Dave Eggers and J.D. Salinger.[2]

In 2014, May published his latest novel, Wake Up Happy Every Day.[2][10] The Independent on Sunday's review of the book stated: “He riffs entertainingly on failure … Talk of misspent youth, assassins and obstreperous protagonists belies the emotional core which makes May's books moving”.[11]

Interviewed by The Independent in 2014, May commented: “This country’s spirit is in places like Bedford, where I grew up, Kettering and Ipswich. The type of men I write about live outside big cities, lack self-confidence and rarely feature in contemporary fiction. Even Nick Hornby's characters are more sorted than mine."[2]

In 2016 it was announced that Sandstone Press will publish his fourth novel Stronger Than Skin in spring 2017.




  • The Reverse Is Also True (2015)[16]
  • The Valuation (2011)[16]
  • Ven Y Va (2010)[16]
  • Still Waiting For Everything (2005)[16]
  • Back The World (2003)[16]


  • Get Started in Creative Writing. Published by Hodder & Staughton, London, 2014[17]
  • Write A Novel And Get It Published. Published by Teach Yourself, London, 2012[18]


  1. ^ a b c d "MAY, STEPHEN - List of Writers". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Stephen May: 'My stories say things that are not being said'". The Independent. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Stephen May". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Eagle News, Vol 5 No 4 (Issue 105) May 2012, p.115
  6. ^ "Stephen May: , and a List of Books by Author Stephen May". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Shena Mackay. "Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  9. ^ Stephen May. "LIFE! DEATH! PRIZES!". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Wake up happy every day". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "Stephen May". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Life! Death! Prizes!". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  15. ^ "TAG". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Stephen May". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Get started in creative writing". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Write a novel and get it published". Retrieved 20 March 2015.