BIOGRAPHY

 

"Without doubt one of the godfathers of British horror" - This Is Horror 

"One of the most provocative and unsettling of contemporary writers" - Andy Hedgecock (Asst Fiction Editor, Interzone)

"A master craftsman" - Dark Musings

"Ghost writer extraordinaire" - SFX magazine 

"One of Britain's finest screenwriters" - Starburst 

Stephen Volk is probably best known as the BAFTA-winning writer of ITV's paranormal drama series Afterlife starring Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln, and the notorious (some say legendary) BBCTV "Halloween hoax" Ghostwatch, which spooked the nation, hit the headlines, and caused questions to be raised in Parliament. 

In 2015 he adapted Phil Rickman's novel Midwinter of the Spirit for ITV, starring Anna Maxwell Martin and David Thelfall, while his most recent feature film was 2011's The Awakening, a period ghost story starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton. On stage, his play The Chapel of Unrest, which premiered exclusively at The Bush Theatre, London, starred Jim Broadbent and Reece Shearsmith. His short story collection Monsters in the Heart won the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection in 2014, while his story "Newspaper Heart" won Best Novella in 2015.

His first produced screenplay, in 1986, was Ken Russell's Gothic, a trippy telling of the Mary Shelley/ Frankenstein origin story starring Gabriel Byrne, Natasha Richardson and Timothy Spall. His other scripts since then include The Guardian, directed and co-written by William (The Exorcist) Friedkin; Superstition starring Mark Strong and Charlotte Rampling; and Octane starring Madeleine Stowe, Norman Reedus and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, as well as screenplays for Goldcrest, MGM, Sony/Columbia, Paramount, TriStar, Universal, BBC Films and StudioCanal.

For television, he has written single stand-alone dramas for Channel 4's Shockers and BBC1's Ghosts. He also won a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for his short film The Deadness of Dad starring Rhys Ifans. For a several years he was co-director of Antidote Theatre, based in Bath, which produced a number of stage plays including his own Answering Spirits as well as new work by John Fletcher and Miles Kington. 

His first collection of short stories, Dark Corners, was published by Gray Friar Press in 2006, from which his story 31/10 (a sequel to Ghostwatch) was short-listed for both a British Fantasy Award and a Bram Stoker Award.  His stories have been selected for Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Best British Mysteries, and Best New Horror - with two stories appearing in the inaugural edition of Salt's Best British Horror 2014. His second collection, Monsters in the Heart (Gray Friar Press) was published in 2013. His third, to be entitled The Parts We Play, will be published in Autumn 2016 by PS Publishing, with an accompanying exclusive volume called Supporting Roles. 

His novella Vardoger was short-listed for both a Shirley Jackson Award and a British Fantasy Award. However arguably his most acclaimed fiction so far is the novella Whitstable - featuring the late horror star Peter Cushing and published by Spectral Press in 2013, the actor's centenary year. This saw a "follow-up" in 2015 in the form of Leytonstone, a novella based on the boyhood of Alfred Hitchcock. The third tale in the Dark Masters Trilogy is planned. 

He also writes a regular comment piece called "Coffinmaker's Blues" for the horror fiction magazine Black Static.

He was born and raised in Pontypridd, South Wales, studied Graphic Design at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry, specialising in Film, and was a winner of the BBC/UNESCO/ICOGRADA/ ASIFA International Animated Film Contest for Young People, subsequent to which he gained a postgraduate certificate with distinction in Radio Film and Television at Bristol University's Department of Drama. Before becoming a full-time writer he worked as an advertising copywriter, notably for Ogilvy Benson and Mather, winning a Silver Lion, IPA Effectiveness in Advertising Award and two Design & Art Direction Awards.

He now lives in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, with his wife, the sculptor Patricia Volk, and a cat he doesn't like.

Photograph (top of page) by Jonathan Hall (Clerkenwell Films/ITV). Immediately below: by Alex Yallop (Portrait painted by Jennifer McRae)

photograph above by Ian Drake (imagebytesphotography.com) - photograph below by Peter Coleborn