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Kim Hoey Stevenson


Kim Stevenson Headshot 2023
Kim Stevenson

Literature: Fiction

By: Gail Obenreder

“Being able to complete a story arc and possibly develop a character in a small space is fascinating to me.”

Kim Hoey Stevenson is fascinated by almost everything. And over the span of a career that has taken her across the country and abroad, that great curiosity has fueled her work. “I am a journalist who has covered everything from war in Africa to the Milford Halloween parade. I like variety.”

A Delaware native, Stevenson grew up in Milford, the oldest daughter in a family of four children. The Emerging Fellow has lived here all her life, leaving briefly for school and intermittent world travel. Though she graduated from college with degrees in psychology and biology, “I’ve always been a writer.” Influenced early on by her mother and by a large collection of fairy tale books, “I wrote my first short story when I was five but was afraid to follow writing as a career.”

Bob and Wyvetta (2022)

Bob was a simple man. As his name implied, he was the same backward as he was forward. But when he looked at Wyvetta, with her beautiful clear green eye and her broad smile that showed off all her own teeth, he felt like he could be more. He felt that with her by his side, maybe, just maybe, he could be a Robert.

Bob was the town handyman. He could talk electrical circuits and carburetors with the guys at the shop for hours. If someone wanted to know what wood to use for a chicken house or how to unclog a toilet, Bob was the man. He whittled toys for orphan children every Christmas and specialized in discussing the weather and home remedies with the ladies of the Coal Valley Historical Society. He could repair practically anything, except his voice when he wanted asking Wyvetta out. Every time he tried, all his words caught together like a hairball in this throat.

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Shortly after her college studies, Stevenson needed a job and saw an advertisement for a freelance writer in her hometown newspaper. She applied and was offered a position as a sports editor. “I have been writing ever since as a journalist.” But it’s only been in the past six or seven years that she “really decided to get back to my true love, fiction.” Stevenson admires the works of authors like Margaret Atwood, Dana Spiotta, and Bebe Moore Campbell, writers who create characters that “slow your reading when you get close to the end of the book because you don’t want to leave.”

Inspired by the diversity of those around her, Stevenson admits to “stealing the characteristics of people I know and have interviewed” to populate her vivid fiction. At work on a novel, she’s currently “taken a detour” to explore writing short stories and flash fiction. But putting her writing work foremost is a constant challenge: “Apparently, procrastination is an art form among writers, and I am no different. My muse speaks on deadline!” And Stevenson is most gratified when readers enjoy her characters and understand a story’s intent – “that is a huge rush.”

It’s not surprising that because of her journalism career and travels, she is also passionate about human rights: Stevenson has been a part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for six years. Closer to home, she enjoys painting, knitting, and the joys of a large family – “hanging out with our [7] children and [19] grandchildren.”

The pandemic had little influence on Stevenson’s writing practice. “When you are a writer, you find out that what you call a normal day is quarantine for other people.” The Division’s Fellowship will enable her to expand her current scope of work. She plans to take classes, do some editing, and purchase a new laptop. But the award’s deepest impact is the validation it provides for Stevenson to continue writing fiction. “Someone looked at my work objectively and said that I should continue and work on it more,” creating a world from the ideas in her head and the people who surround her.

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