Agent: Tom Drake-Lee
Valerie Jack enjoys reading and writing in her garden room, with a snoring pug on her lap and a view of goldfinches on a silver birch. But curiosity about her fellow humans, and an urge to better understand our shared condition, propel her out to talk to people about their experiences and feelings.
Her new narrative non-fiction book, A Happy Ending Without An Ever After? tells the stories of non-religious people facing loss and illness, and asks how people who – like her – believe this is our one life, may face death and yet find comfort, hope and meaning.
After studying at Oxford (BA), York (MA) and Brunel (PGCE), Valerie taught English and Classical Civilisation for 12 years, alongside writing poetry and plays. Valerie developed work with the National Theatre Studio and Hampstead Theatre; subsequently, her play Fireworks, which centres on a teenage girl with Prader-Willi syndrome, was staged in London twice, praised as ‘sparky’ in The Observer and appreciated in Drama, Disability and Education (Routledge, 2012) for its subversion of stereotypes. Her poetry has been widely published, including in the Times Literary Supplement and The Spectator; of her debut poetry collection, Educational, (tall-lighthouse, 2009) Hugo Williams wrote ‘Valerie Jack’s pared-down, hyper-realist vocabulary brings the world into high definition. Her poems are like arrows to the mark, we feel their impact.’
Valerie’s newly-finished second poetry collection, Water Calls, begun while she was living on a narrowboat, tells stories of boat, island and coast-dwellers and explores our complex relationship with our major constituent - which gives us life, yet also has the power to destroy us.
Valerie lives in the lovely Chilterns with her husband and two young children.