An author with over forty works published in Australia, the USA, and Denmark, Robert N. Stephenson has written short stories covering most of the popular genres today, as well as a range of poetry. He is the author of both a science-fiction novel and a murder mystery, has ghost-written a crime novel, and has published a short-story collection titled We Would Be Heroes (2000).
Stephenson was born and raised in Adelaide, the son of Norman and Diane Stephenson. His interest in writing apparently began at around age ten, but although he continued to develop his writing skills over the next two decades, it wasn't until 1996 that he attempted to turn his skills into a professional career. After putting together a collection of poetry, Garments of Rainbows, in 1992, Stephenson sold his first story, 'Alone With Ghosts', to Talebones magazine four years later. This led to further short fiction being accepted by small-press magazines and zines such as Nowa Fantastyka (Poland), Global SF (China), Interzone (UK), and several more in the USA. His first novel, Life Light, was translated into Polish and published by Nowa Fantastyka's Special Editions in 2005. (It has not yet been published in English.)
In addition to his writing, Stephenson owns and manages Altair Australia Pty Ltd. The company's origins date back to 1998, when Stephenson founded the science-fiction magazine Altair. After closing down the magazine in 2000, he turned to publishing more expansive works through Altair Publishing, which became Altair Australia Books in 2004. Through his company, Stephenson has edited works for clients from Australia and overseas (notably Hong Kong) in the areas of fiction and non-fiction. In all, he has edited over twenty published novels and ten published non-fiction books.
Altair Australia also operates as a literary agency, representing authors' written material to publishers and film producers both within Australia and overseas. Clients have included Tony Shillitoe, Gail Merritt, Kurt von Trojan, and Victoria Kerrigan. Stephenson has also worked as a professional editor for Edit Avenue in Boston and Sid Harta Publishers (for whom he edited two bestsellers in 2002).
Among Stephenson's career achievements are the 1999 Harper Collins prize for completing a novella partly written by the late author George Turner. He was also awarded second prize with 'Who'll Stop The Rain' in the Phyllis Gotleib byline contest. (The story was subsequently printed in the USA.)
In 2002, he was invited to be a panel judge for the Aurealis Awards. That same year, his short story 'The Touch of Silk' was chosen as the cover story for an issue of Aurealis magazine. Among his other awards are a 2006 Black Dog Award (for his essay on depression) and a 2008 Pride of Australia pin (for his involvement in establishing new writers). He has also founded two industry awards: the Peter McNamara Achievement Award and the Australian Shadows Award.
Actively involved in industrial issues, Stephenson is a member of the South Australian Writer's Centre, the NSW Writer's Centre, Society of Children's Writers of America, Society of Editors, and the Australian Horror Writers' Association. He also holds a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA), which allows him the opportunity to work as a tutor in the area of creative writing for institutions such as Australian Colleges QED.
Peek, Ben. 'Robert N. Stephenson.' Tabula Rasa. Online. (Sighted: 17/06/2011)
Altair: Alternative Airings of Speculative Fiction was established in 1998 by Robert N. Stephenson. Contributors to the first issue were Joe Haldeman, Robert J. Sawyer, David Bischoff, Charles de Lint, Sean Williams, and Simon Brown.
During its three years of publication, Altair featured both Australian and international speculative-fiction writers, several of whom were either nominated for or won prestigious awards for science-fiction writing. The magazine also provided some authors with their first published works; for Indian writer Ashok Banker, Altair was the first English-language publication of one of his stories.
Stephenson closed down Altair Magazine in 2000 in order to concentrate on his writing. In 2004, Altair Publishing became Altair Australia Books, a publishing venture that releases novels, anthologies, and poetry collections.
'Altair: Alternative Airings in Speculative Fiction: Issues 1 and 2.' Eidolon Reviews, 1998. Online. (Sighted: 16/06/2011)