Born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1956 S. K. Kelen is the son of Stephen Estaban Kelen and brother of Christopher Kelen (qq.v.). At the University of Sydney, he studied Philosophy and Literature and has worked as a Commonwealth Government public servant, a teacher of Creative Writing and a book reviewer.
Kelen is a prolific poet, his poetry having appeared in many journals such as Southerly, Scarp, Poetry Review, Heat, Meanjin and The Animist and also several anthologies and collections. He has served also as poetry editor at The Canberra Times. As well as teaching in the United States for a time, he has travelled widely in Asia and the Pacific. During a residency in Vietnam Stephen Kelen wrote prolifically, producing a chapbook of poems set in Vietnam which was published by The Gioi Publishers and sold in Hanoi.