About the Author
Stephanie Williams was born in Ottawa. Her father was an officer who served with distinction during the Second World War in the Canadian army; her mother was born in China, the daughter of a young Russian woman who had escaped the brutal chaos of the Bolshevik revolution in Siberia and an Englishman who worked for a British company in Tianjin.
Stephanie grew up moving constantly with her family across Canada, to Germany, England and the United States, going to thirteen schools before gaining admission to study history at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. After graduation in 1970 she moved to London, becoming a journalist specializing in architecture and the environment for numerous British newspapers and magazines. In 1979, she moved to Hong Kong where she reported for the South China Morning Post, Asian Wall Street Journal and UK newspapers. That year she was in one of the first groups of foreigners admitted by the Communist regime to tour mainland China.
Out of her three-year stay in Hong Kong, came the commission to write Hongkong Bank, the story of the building of Norman Fosterís ground-breaking headquarters for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, published in 1989. This was followed by Docklands in 1993.
By this time, perestroika had come to Russia. It was finally possible to begin to investigate the truth of her Russian grandmotherís tumultuous past. Researching and writing Olga's Story took ten years. Stephanie's latest book, Running the Show: Governors of the British Empire, was inspired by the discovery of an 1879 questionnaire that revealed the extraordinary variety of conditions under which British governors and their families were living around the world.
In 1995 she founded Childrens Express UK, now Headliners, a news agency producing news and comment by young people aged 8 - 18. From 2003 - 2011 she served as a member of the Advisory Council of the National Archives, and has recently stepped down as the founding chair of the Access Project which helps disadvantaged students win places at top universities.