Stevyn Colgan

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Stevyn Colgan
Stevyn Colgan at a promotional pub quiz, Phoenix Theatre, London August 2008
Born Stephen Mark Colgan
(1961-08-11) 11 August 1961 (age 55)
London, England
Occupation Writer and Artist
Genre Humorous Non-Fiction, Trivia, Illustration

Stevyn Colgan (born 11 August 1961) is a British writer, artist and speaker.

He is a researcher and script writer for the BBC TV series QI and the regular QI Annuals, and for QI's BBC Radio 4 sister show The Museum of Curiosity.


His late father was a homicide detective and writer.



Colgan joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1980 and served in Hillingdon, Westminster and Ealing Borough stations as well as with Clubs and Vice, IT Training and the force's Examinations Unit. He was awarded the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1993 and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. He retired from the police service in February 2010 after completing 30 years' service.

In later service, Colgan was a member of the award-winning Met Police Problem Solving Unit that used business techniques and creative thinking to tackle issues that did not respond to traditional policing/enforcement methods. He sat on several Home Office working groups and is an expert on problem-oriented policing and worked closely with the UK Home Office and the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science. He has lectured and taught extensively throughout the UK and US and now lectures in a private capacity.

Throughout 2012 and 2013 he embarked on an extensive tour of the UK with a talk called The Skeptical Bobby in which he talked about his police career, the need for grass-roots skepticism, and the importance of challenging old and predictable working practices that may now be redundant or inapplicable. In 2016 his book Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? was published by Unbound. It tells the story of his tenure with the Probem Solving Unit and carries cover quotes from Stephen J Dubner and Rory Sutherland.

He was a judge for the 2013 Transmission Awards for Innovative Thinking.


Colgan's first published illustration work was for the book I Remember: Reflections on Fishing and Childhood (Summersdale 1995) by Joe Cowley, Frederick Forsyth, Roger Daltrey, Bernard Cribbins, George Melly and others. The book raised money for the NSPCC. In 2006 he was the official artist for the Autumn National Children's Book Fair organised by Scholastic Books Ltd.

He illustrated several features for the various QI Annuals and the cover for the 'E, F, G' Compilation Annual in November 2010. His artwork regularly appears on the QI TV series. The QI 'H' Annual 2011 features a two-page spread co-written by himself, Justin Pollard and John Lloyd, called HENJ in which IKEA-style instructions for building Stonehenge are seen. These pages became so popular that they can be found on hundreds of websites and have spawned/inspired many other similar illustrations.

In 2011 he was invited to participate in the annual Royal College of Art Secret Auction alongside such notables as Yoko Ono, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry.


In 1998 Colgan, James Murphy, Sarwat Chadda, Dan Schaffer, Jeremy Elford and Kelvin Cox attempted to launch a new independent British comics imprint called Bigger Betty. Its purpose was to provide a platform for new British artists and writers. Despite good sales and excellent reviews, funding problems caused the imprint to fold after just one issue.

In October 2008, his first book, Joined-Up Thinking, was published by Pan Macmillan Books.

In 2010 the Cornish Language Fellowship (Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek) and the Cornish Language Board (Kesva an Taves Kernewek) published Henhwedhlow, a book of Cornish Faerie Stories written and illustrated by Colgan. The book was published in both English and Cornish language on facing pages to aid translation. The stories are modern interpretations of traditional tales plus several brand new stories by the author. The book contains the largest existing body of modern Cornish prose.

In 2013 he launched a new book called Constable Colgan's Connectoscope with the crowd-funding publisher Unbound.

In 2014 and 2015 respectively, he self-published a novel - The Third Condiment - and an adult colouring book called Colgeroons on the Lulu platform.

In 2016 his semi-autobiographical book about Probem Oriented Policing Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? was published. He also self-published a colouring book called Colgeroons.

He also co-wrote Saving Bletchley Park with Dr Sue Black OBE,[1] published in 2015.

He is currently developing several new book projects and finishing a comedy murder mystery novel called A Murder To Die For that will be published in Spring 2017.


In 2012 he co-wrote the pilot for a radio series called 101 People to Meet Before You (Or They) Die with Dan Schreiber. After broadcast, a live show followed featuring on-stage interviews with Marc Abrahams and Dr Jan Bondeson.

Also in 2012, he became one of the researcher/writers for BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity.

In May 2012 he appeared on an episode of the Do the Right Thing podcast in the 'Ask the Expert' round and on an episode of Dave Gorman's BBC2 series Genius.

He has appeared on many podcasts including Level Up Human, Little Atoms and the online live panel show Ex Libris.

His artwork has been seen on episodes of the BBC TV series QI, and he was name-checked by Stephen Fry in the QIXL episode "Humans" in 2010. He joined the regular research team for Series K in 2013, and made a cameo appearance in the 2014 episode "Location, Location, Location".

Since Series L of QI, he has been one of the eight principle writer/researchers.

In 2016 he made a guest appearance on the QI podcast No Such Thing as a Fish.


In recent years he has been a visiting lecturer in metacognition at St Bartholemew's Hospital and the Royal London Hospital (known locally as Barts and the London and affiliated to Queen Mary University of London). He has also spoken at Imperial College, York University and Buckinghamshire New University. He also works closely with change agency Left/Field London.

He has spoken at venues and events such as TEDx, Huddle, the Ig Nobel Prizes, Unbound Live, and to many Skeptics in the Pub meetings. He has also appeared at the Hay Festival, Latitude, the Edinburgh Fringe, Harrogate International Festival, QEDCon, Salon London and many more. His talks are a mix of science, autobiography and comedy.

He has also taught art and lectured on creative thinking and problem solving.

Stevyn Colgan at the Merseyside Skeptics Society




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