...was born in Whitstable, Kent but grew up in Dover and Deal overlooking the English Channel. He attended Dover Grammar School for Boys. He found his vocation in teaching and entered Keswick Hall College of Education in Norwich in 1967. Graduating in 1970 he taught in Nuneaton, Warwickshire for 2 years before going to Papua New Guinea on Voluntary Service Overseas. There he taught English and History in an American Lutheran mission school for 2 years (VSO) - a time that he describes as ‘a turning point in my life’.
On his return to the UK Owen returned to Dover Grammar School for Boys where he taught English and drama for 12 years before being called to the ministry of the Church of England. In 1983 he published his first book The Evil Eye of Gondôr – a play for children. After training for the priesthood in Canterbury, he was ordained in Canterbury Cathedral in 1986 and has served in parishes in England and Scotland.
Bryan Owen married a Scots girl he originally met in Papua New Guinea 13 years earlier and they have two children. He took early retirement in 2001 since when he has been writing full-time.
In 2004 he published Praying on the Edge – a series of studies for house groups on social themes and that was followed in 2007 by Blue daffodils and other poems – his first collection of poetry. In 2009 he published his CD A gentle sprinkling of stars containing 21 poems.
Bryan Owen enjoys a wide range of music including classical, folk, country, blues and jazz. He reads voraciously and travels widely especially to the United States and Canada. He has recently run several 10k races to keep fit, he is an International Election Observer for the UK government and the European Union, and he has been involved in community affairs as well. He has been a member of the Liberal Party (now the Liberal Democrats) for most of his adult life.
Bryan (fourth from left) as a member of the European Union International Observation team for the Fiji elections in 2006.
Bryan speaking at a meeting of the Elgin (Illinois) Rotary Club in 2007.
BRYAN OWEN's publications
The Evil Eye of Gondôr (a play for children 1983) Praying on the Edge (studies in social issues for home groups 2004) Blue daffodils and other poems (2007)
A gentle sprinkling of stars - a CD of 21 poems
Children of Adam: a Leo Hamza novel (a thriller ready for publication) Genesis: People, Places and Promise (a book for agnostics and those who struggle to believe due 2008)
Bryan Owen in the Garden of the Gods, near Colorado Springs CO during a research visit into religious fundamentalism in 2005. Much of the research has gone into two manuscripts: 'Genesis: People, Places and Promise' and 'Sex and Wine: a polemic against religious fundamentalism'
Here's a recent poem that asks a profoundly religious question (the kind evangelical fundamentalists find so uncomfortable) about what it is to be truly human:
The Night before the Fall
On the night before the Fall, when supper was ended and Eve had washed the dishes, Adam dried his hands, put away the towel and said, ‘What shall we do tonight, my dear?’
‘Let’s go for a stroll in the garden,’ she said. ‘There’s not much else to do.’
So hand in hand, they walked along the stream that flows out of Eden and strolled under the shade of the trees they found so pleasant to the sight.
‘I’ll make apple pie tomorrow,’ she said, picking some of the fruit hanging richly from the branches. The cupboard at home was bare.
‘That’ll be nice,’ he said. ‘We had it last week... and the week before... but never mind... waste not want not.’
He wanted to say ‘there are plenty of poor people who would appreciate apple pie’ but as there weren’t any poor people yet he thought better of it.
As they walked on, he touched the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden and was thankful to be alive. Further on, still holding hands and enjoying the touch of one another, they stood in the shade of a Tree whose fruit they had never eaten for fear of causing offence.
Adam turned to the Love by his side and touching her chin lifted her head and kissed her gently on the lips. Eve closed her eyes and laid her head upon his shoulders and sighed. Adam held the moment and enjoyed it.
Hearing the laughter of the stream he wondered where it led and what lay far beyond the four rivers but as they weren’t allowed to walk that far he didn’t know and never would.
Somewhere at the back of his brain a song formed and he wanted to sing it but as there was no music in Eden he couldn’t and so never would.
They walked on for a few more moments and stood on the edge watching the sun slowly go down as they had done for – well – as long as they could remember. There was an ache, a longing, a desiring, from somewhere deep inside but they couldn’t quite put their finger on it and so the moment passed.
The two of them watched the fading evening light and breathed the breath of one another in their embrace but they knew it wasn’t enough. It was lonely in Paradise. There was no one else to talk to and there wasn’t much to do – especially of an evening.
If they were going to survive and be happy, if they were going to grow and be truly human, something would have to change, they thought.
As they watched the dying rays of a distant red-rimmed sun and the rising of the bright daughter moon they wondered if tomorrow could be, by God’s good grace, a somewhat better day...