In October 2019 Valerie will turn eighty. It is a grand milestone and, amid the rough and tumble of the high-tech modern world, an achievement in its own right.
Here for the first time she steps away from her fiction to describe some of the most important people and places, things and ideas, in her own life.
Valerie has had a long and distinguished career in publishing in many different roles. She began by writing for the BBC and then became a journalist. She moved into book publishing with Oxford University Press, where she was drawn into the world of English Language Teaching and writing for children. She is the mother of the theatre and film director Sam Mendes, and has watched his work in both fields with pride.
During her career Valerie has experienced life from many different aspects of the publishing world, as an editor, publisher, freelance consultant, project manager and finally author. She has written a host of letters, reports, short stories, features, articles, and hundreds of poems. She has published two picture books, five novels for teenagers and two historical novels for the adult marketplace.
Valerie describes her memoir as being like a necklace of beads. They include sharp, tangy memories of her childhood and school days; a talk she gave at the Edinburgh Festival on writing teenage novels; and a modern short story where she features as the central character, thinly disguised.
Each brief episode is marked by its honesty, its energy and its humour.
She hopes you will relish every word.