Florence Margaret Smith was born in Kingston upon Hull on September 20, 1902. After her parents' separation she moved with her mother, aunt, and sister to a house in the London suburb of Palmers Green, where she lived for the rest of her life. After graduating from North London Collegiate School for Girls, she worked as a private secretary with the London magazine publishing firm George Newnes. She adopted her nickname, Stevie, as a nom de plume after a friend's joking comparison of her petite stature to that of the jockey Steve Donoghue. Her first book, Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936. She began writing poetry in her twenties and her first collection of verse, A Good Time Was Had by All, was published in 1937. She retired from George Newnes in 1953 due to ill health and to focus on her writing and BBC broadcasts. She came to wider public attention after the publication of her Selected Poems in Britain in 1962 and the United States in 1964. Her other works include The Holiday, Scorpion and Other Poems, and Me Again: Uncollected Writings of Stevie Smith. She was awarded the Chomondeley Award for Poetry in 1966 and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1969. She died of a brain tumor on March 7, 1971. In 1981, a film based on her life entitled Stevie was released.