Martin Stephen has a PhD from the University of Sheffield and is the former High Master of St Paul’s School in London. Prior to that, he was High Master of The Manchester Grammar School and Headmaster of The Perse School, Cambridge. He was described as ‘the most influential Head in the independent sector’ by the Times Educational Supplement and the Daily Telegraph. He is apparently the inspiration behind the private school head in Jilly Cooper’s Wicked!, a character described as ‘a great teacher because he was a great communicator’.
Martin is a regular contributor to television and radio and writes for leading newspapers in the UK. He is Director of Education for GEMS (Global Educational Management Systems) in the UK and writes a personal blog for the Daily Telegraph. He is widely in demand as a naval historian and is an expert on the poetry of the First World War.
About a year after Martin started at St Paul’s in 2004, he suffered a stroke. When he got home, he designed his own rehabilitation programme, drawing on the experiences of his father-in-law, who’d also had a stroke. Each day included bouncing and catching a tennis ball 2,000 times, two hours of Victorian copybook handwriting, two hours of reciting poems with a cork between his teeth, and two hours of walking up and down the stripes on the lawn. He also – ‘this was the only fun bit’ – played computer games, crashing an onscreen jet 4,796 times before he finally landed it. Martin, now fully recovered, returned to St Paul’s and wrote The Diary of a Stroke, which has been an inspiration to many finding themselves or their family in a similar situation.
He is the author or editor of eighteen books on English literature and military history, including war poetry. His five novels are historical thrillers set in the time of Elizabeth I and James I. Most of the characters are real historical figures and the events took place as described. The hero throughout the series is Henry Gresham, a seventeenth-century James Bond. Wealthy and principled, he has political savvy and sway, and is prepared to kill where necessary.
Martin Stephen is now retired from St Paul’s and pursues the many interests he did not have time for previously. However, he continues to write books, which remains one of his lifelong passions. Martin is married to Jenny, Headmistress of South Hampstead High School.
Dr Martin Stephen