Stephen S. Mills grew up in Richmond, Indiana where he discovered a love for reading and writing at an early age. One of his first short stories was about an alien named Zeco who visited a young boy. It won him honorable mention in a state-wide writing competition in elementary school and solidified his desire to become a writer.
He went on to attend Hanover College in Southern Indiana where he majored in English Literature with a minor in Art. He focused a good deal of his study on the Modernist Period and on the Harlem Renaissance. His strong liberal arts education helped ground and push his writing.
After graduating, Stephen was accepted to the MFA program at Florida State University. At FSU, he continued to push his poetry with the help of faculty members Dr. David Kirby and Erin Belieu. In addition to studying, he spent his three years teaching freshmen composition courses. This began his interest in the field of teaching, which he has continued to do either full-time or part-time.
On completion of his MFA, he moved with his husband to Orlando, Florida. While in Orlando, Stephen began publishing more work in journals and magazines including The Los Angeles Review, PANK, and The Antioch Review. In 2008 his poem "Iranian Boys Hanged for Sodomy, July 2005" won the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Award.
In March of 2012, his first book, He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, came out from Sibling Rivalry Press. He launched the book with his publisher, Bryan Borland, at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City. The book went on to sell well (making the contemporary poetry bestsellers list in August of 2012). It was also named a finalist for the Thom Gunn Poetry Award and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry.
In October 2012, Stephen and his husband moved to New York City. They currently live in Harlem where Stephen completed his second book A History of the Unmarried, which came out from Sibling Rivalry Press on September 16, 2014. It was later placed on the 2015 Over the Rainbow List compiled by the American Library Association.
Currently, Stephen works as an HIV/STI health educator at Mount Sinai and is working on a new book.
Photo by Ryan Baker