Born in Cambridge in 1970, Jenny Valentine first trained as a jeweller before studying English at London’s Goldsmith College. Whereas she has stopped to change her residence as much as her family used to, she still considers the encounter with new places and people an important inspiration for her literary work: »[…] you have to get out in the world if you want to write about it«, said the author in an interview with German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk in 2010. Despite initial doubts about maintaining a successful writing career while studying, Jenny Valentine swiftly became celebrated by international critics and readers through her debut novel »Finding Violet Park?« (2007) and subsequent youth novels »Broken Soup« (2008) and »The Ant Colony« (2009), as well as her children’s book series »Iggy and me« (2009).
If Lucas, the 16-year-old protagonist of »Finding Violet Park?«, had known the turns his life would take after discovering the ashes of a complete stranger named Violet Park, he would probably have left them on the shelf of the mini-cab office where he found them. The story of his search for Violet Park exemplifies Jenny Valentine’s extraordinary narrative flair for the existential questions facing today’s youth, an everyday madness caught between responsibility, the search for meaning and the quest for individuality. This as well as her other books exhibits a fascination for the intimate connections between chance and fate in the game of possibilities. With wit and a composition which compels through both language and dramaturgy, the author’s texts reveal their depth in the subtle shades between bizarre, laconic and tragic elements. It’s often secrets or hidden intentions whose revelation produces cracks in the carefully maintained façade of familial or societal togetherness, and in her protagonists’ view of the world. The author works in themes like the outsider, communication between generations, loss, memory and the importance of letting go. This is equally true of her latest children’s book »The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight« (2010), and her highly praised book »Broken Soup«, the story of 15-year-old Rowan, who has to take care of the whole family after he brother Jack died.
Jenny Valentine has received numerous national and international prizes, such as the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for her debut in 2007 and the first of several nominations for the Carnegie Medal in 2008. She lives with her family in Hay-on-Wye.
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