About Stewart


Stewart’s verse is widely anthologised through many Key Stage 2 and 3 poetry collections in use in primary schools in the UK, including those by Macmillan, Bloomsbury, Oxford University Press, Random House and Scholastic. His best-selling ‘Who Left Grandad At The Chipshop?’ was short listed for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards, and ‘All Things Weird and Wonderful’ , both published by Lion Children’s Books alongside his various collections for adults, has seen him become a festival favourite at such premier literary events as The Edinburgh Book Festival, Guildford Book Festival, The Northern Children’s Book Festival and The Wigtown Book Festival.

Reviewing Stewart’s most recent book of children’s poetry, ‘Poetry Emotion’ , in The Church Times , Melanie Carroll noted, ‘What Michael Morpurgo has done for children’s fiction, Henderson has done for poetry’. Junior Education Magazine praised the ‘thoughtful and imaginative’ ‘All Things Weird And Wonderful’ , remarking ‘the poems will be readily gobbled up the majority of eight to ten year olds’. Commenting on ‘Who Left Grandad At The Chipshop?’ waterstones.com highlighted the ‘quite beautiful’ poems, signing off their review with ‘Poetry has never been so much fun’. Stewart also contributed commissioned poems to the multiple repeat, CBeebies/BBC Learning series, ‘The Rhyme Rocket’ ; whilst on the children’s song front, he joined forces with songwriters, Helen and Mark Johnson for the ten tracks CD/Words On Screen Assembly songbook, ‘This Is Me’. Produced by Out Of The Ark, Teach Reading and Writing Magazine enthused ‘A clever and exceptional resource…brimming with creativity, will help teach social and emotional values like nothing else. Totally different, refreshing and inspiring, and will help children to appreciate that it is great…to be me’.

Stewart’s nine previous books of poetry for adults, including two collections for Hodder & Stoughton, ‘A Giant’s Scrapbook’ and ‘Homeland’ , have ensured that Stewart has made many appearances on networked radio and television programmes down the decades, commencing that part of his career with a featured poem on the ‘Today’ programme on BBC Radio 4. Other poetry broadcasts, too numerous to list completely, have included Saturday Live , Broadcasting House and PM , (‘Talented Git’ remarked Eddie Mair in the Radio Times ) also for Radio 4; Good Morning Sunday for BBC Radio 2, and several series of First Light for BBC 1. Stewart’s recently published, ‘A Poet’s Notebook…with new poems, obviously…’ for Lion Hudson, comprises 21 poems preceded by a commentary on the sources and development of each poem. A rare combination of poetic journal, travelogue and cultural almanac.

Stewart Henderson Headshot

Photo: John de Garis


Stewart’s 25-year song writing collaboration with BBC Music Award winner, Martyn Joseph began, in earnest, with Stewart penning the title track for the Sony debut album, ‘Being There’. The repertoire grew over a dozen albums with Stewart supplying the lyrics for Martyn’s melodies which, in turn, became festival favourites at home, in Europe and North America, supplemented by many radio and TV plays. Stewart’s sole lyrics include Lonely Like America, Arizona Dreams, Proud Valley Boy, Turn Me Tender, How Did We End Up Here?, Strange Way, This Being Woman, Working Mother, Land Of Evermore, Beyond Us, Not A Good Time For God, plus other notables. All in all, nearly 40 songs which serve as a chronicle of our fraught and fractured times.

Of late, Stewart has been creatively fired by the stunning voice and musicianship of Scottish singer-songwriter, Yvonne Lyon. Described as having an ‘awesome level of talent’ by the influential, Maverick Magazine , and Yvonne gave an all important performance at The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow during the 2018 Celtic Connections. Yvonne, and Stewart have been writing together over the last twelve months, in conjunction with musical maestro and songwriter, David Lyon. Yvonne and David’s generous invitation to ‘shall we do something?’ resulted in the song and poetry production ‘Vesper Sky’ , on which can also be heard the equal skills of Carol Henderson, with superb interpretations of the verse. As Stewart commented in a recent interview, ‘ On Vesper Sky, you will hear two remarkable female ‘vocalists’, Yvonne on the songs, and Carol, my wife, reading some of my poems. Carol’s talents have been called on for various theatre and Radio 4 readings over the years. Once heard, you can understand why. I am blest to have two such exquisite interpreters of my words’. Vesper Sky is produced by Graeme Duffin, Sandy Jones and Yvonne Lyon, with artwork by Raine Clarke, and design by Tim Roberts.

Stewart has also been proud to have written lyrics for, over the years, Stephen Fischbacher, Gareth Davies-Jones, Rachel Taylor-Beales, and Shirley Novak. In 2018 Stewart was personally invited by Olivier, and Tony Award winner - playwright, librettist and songwriter, Willy Russell ( Educating Rita , Shirley Valentine , Blood Brothers , etc) to be his co-tutor on a residential songwriting course at Ty Newydd, the National Writing Centre of Wales.

Vesper Sky Album Cover

Vesper Sky Artwork – Raine Clarke


As a broadcaster, predominantly on BBC Radio 4, but also for the BBC World Service, Radio 2, Radio 4Extra, Radio 5Live and Radio Scotland, Stewart presented ‘Questions, Questions’ for ten years on BBC Radio 4. Singled out as ‘a gem of the airwaves’, Stewart’s many and varied social and narrative documentaries for the network have also included ‘The Holy Fire’ , made on location in Israel, which won a Jerusalem Radio Award for Best Feature. Some of Stewart’s other instigated features for the network have been, ‘From Hairnets To Goalnets’ the story of The Dick, Kerr Ladies, Britain’s first women’s football team, providing Stewart with a Sony Award nomination, with The Guardian’s radio critic, Elisabeth Mahoney noting the ‘very fond programme’s feminist ire at how the women’s game has long been treated’. Other programmes have included a celebration of the life of double Oscar-winning, British cinematographer, Jack Cardiff Speaks ; the five part educational series ‘Wide Awake At Bedtime’ , the ‘Archive On 4’ features, ‘Liverpool – Sinner and Saint’ and ‘High Society’ , as well as ‘We Built The Mersey Tunnel, Boys’ and ‘Girls With Skirls’ a documentary about The Dagenham Girl Pipers.

Other programmes for the Network - ‘Dan McGrew, Who Are You?’ – on the life and work of balladeer poet, Robert Service, and ‘Not Now, Arthur’ , a documentary about Arthur Tolcher, the hapless harmonica player on the Morecambe and Wise BBC TV shows of the 1970’s. The Sunday Times radio critic, Gillian Reynolds, has said of Stewart that he ‘understands the packed power of words, the importance of their use and measure’. A special ‘Something Understood’ featured a graveside interview with Julie Nicholson whose daughter, Jenny was murdered in the London bombings of July, 2005.

Stewart’s many production and script credits for Radio 4 have included ‘Inside The Cavern’ - presented by Midge Ure; ‘Spy In The Holy Land’ - presented by Sir Charles Wheeler; ‘Farewell To Winston’ – presented by Nicholas Witchell and subsequently released on CD by BBC Worldwide - ‘A remarkable documentary’, The Independent. Also ‘Morecambe and Wise – The Garage Tapes’ – presented by Jon Culshaw. ‘Talking About Lionel’ , ‘Eddie Goes Country’ and ‘And Now An Urgent SOS Message’ - ‘This moving programme’ - The Daily Telegraph, with all three presented by Eddie Mair. A production for BBC World Service was the on-location documentary, recorded in Moscow, ‘How My Country Speaks’ , presented by dissident poet, Irina Ratushinskaya. Meanwhile back at home, Stewart originated, scripted and co-produced the Radio 2 documentary about soul music in Liverpool in the 1960’s and 1970’s, ‘Motown On The Mersey’ , presented by Craig Charles. Also for the same network, saw Stewart back in front of the microphone presenting ‘Where Was God?’ , an hour-long documentary on suffering, persecution and racism, which included a feature interview with Richard Curtis.

Stewart has also presented, and contributed to some of the Network’s ‘crown jewels’ such as From Our Own Correspondent , Pick Of The Week , Something Understood , Broadcasting House , Saturday Live , PM , iPM and Four Thought. Stewart is also a former, visiting guest lecturer at Birmingham City University where he taught on poetry and its application and necessity in primary education.

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