Stevie Smith

Poet and novelist (1902-1971)

The poet Stevie Smith was born Florence Margaret Smith in Hull in 1902. When her father abandoned the family in 1905, Stevie’s mother and two aunts pooled resources in Palmers Green. Stevie lived at No 1 Avondale for the rest of her life, much of it with her surviving aunt Madge Spear (the “Lion Aunt”).

Smith wrote three novels (Novel on Yellow Paper, Over the Frontier and Holiday) and a large body of confessional poems; fans included Sylvia Plath. Problems with anxiety and depression dogged her much of her life but while Stevie lived a cloistered existence in some ways, she still managed to socialise with a wide range of other artists. In Sylers Green Smith wrote descriptively about her early life.

Glenda Jackson starred in a motion picture about Stevie Smith’s life in 1978 and an English Heritage Blue plaque was unveiled at the house by Andrew Motion in 2005.

More about Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith a critical biography – Frances Spalding

Hear Stevie Smith reading and speaking about her inspirations

A discussion of Stevie Smith and the influence of the suburbs on her work

Andrew Motion unveils the blue plaque at 1 Avondale



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