RNF Skinner


A Londoner by upbringing, I was educated at Eltham College in south-east London and went on to take a Natural Sciences degree at Cambridge University. While there, as well as being a member of the famous ‘Footlights’ club, I co-founded and performed with the cabaret-revue team ‘Headlights’, latterly ‘Seventh Sense’. 

In 1975 I moved to Devon, where I still live, to write a novel and, increasingly, poetry. Although that first attempt at a novel remains unpublished (and, frankly, unpublishable), several pieces of my short fiction appeared in literary magazines. Two of the longer pieces won awards from South West Arts. 

photo of RNF (Richard) Skinner, Exeter-based author & poet

With my unpublishable novel well out of the way, an idea for another attempt began to develop in 1987, resulting in my scribbling down 20,000 words over the Easter weekend, which I then worked up into a short novel called simply ‘Melanie’. I subsequently wrote a prequel and jotted down notes for a sequel, then put them all back in the drawer as my poetry began to gain some recognition, and I now have nine published titles. These include The Logic of Whistling (Cairns 2002), A brief poetry of time (Oversteps 2016) and Invocations (Wild Goose 2017). With fellow poet Chris Southgate I have undertaken two tours of south-west England, sponsored by South West Arts; and with composer Nigel Walsh I have collaborated in the writing of a range of songs, including the musical Bethlehem! I still occasionally write and perform sketch-based comedy.

Richard Skinner Exeter Poet Poetry Reading
RNFS at a poetry reading

 In April 2017, having published two poetry collections in quick succession, I felt that that well had run dry, so with other commitments out of the way I returned to my 1987 protagonists Melanie and Phil, and started again. The resulting work, Still Crazy… (SilverWood 2017), was published a mere 33 years from conception. As follow-ups, I am about to publish a set of short stories entitled “After All…” (SilverWood 2022); and a novella entitled “These Years” is well under way.

RNFS - performing at Brook Kitchen, Budleigh Salterton
book launch with Gordon. 2022.
Double book launch: RNF Skinner & Gordon R Clarke
Richard Skinner Exeter Sketch Comedy Troupe Headlights
The Headlights: 31st Dec 1970 RNFS, Fran, Gordon, Chris
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