Writer In Residence
Her crime novel ‘The Rotting Spot’, (paperback from Red Squirrel Crime; winner of a Northern Writers’ Award, shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize), and her comedy novel ‘Lydia Bennet’s Blog’, are both available on Kindle. Also ‘Changing Age, Changing Minds’ (Newcastle University), a play, an edited Star Trek anthology (Iron Press), and two best-selling language books.
She has written 12 commissioned plays for stage and BBC radio. Many prizes, including Wellcome Trust Arts Award to work with neuroscientists, twice prize winner in National Poetry competition. Invents new forms of kinetic poetry; science-themed AV poetry installations such as ‘Slicing the Brain’ have featured in public exhibitions in London, Newcastle, and Berlin, and her ‘Window of Art’ was commissioned for St Thomas Hospital in London. Other commissions include the infamous Arts Council funded ‘Quantum Sheep’, spray-painting poetry on live sheep, and on inflatable beachballs for BBC2 TV’s Why Poetry Matters, later performed at Royal Festival Hall.
Many other residencies, including Ilkley Literature Festival, Darwin 200, and El Gouna, Egypt. Currently also Writer in Residence at a London Pathology Museum, and at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health. Performs live and in media worldwide.
Valerie offers writing courses at the Physic Garden.
Poems by Valerie Laws inspired by the Physic Gardens:
SEE OF TRANQUILITY
(written for the physic garden Tranquility Pool)
Water in winter is still as glass,
Glass clear as a tranquil mind.
Mind your spirit, keep it green,
Green as these leaves that heal.
Healthy body, spirit, mind, will flow,
Flower clear, clean as spring water.
SCENT FOR A SUFFRAGETTE
(green, white, & violet were their colours; written in response to Lush’s scent ‘The Smell of Weather Turning’, published in Penning Perfumes anthology)
Violet, a glimpse, a glimmer of soft blue-purple, musk-warm
breath of cool moist petals swamped by
Green. Lush tangling hedgebank grass, wood sorrel’s
lavish moss with coiling hooks and fists, clean
medicinal chlorophyll. Sudden spike of
White mint, the Polo I sucked before eating cold tongue
in Nana’s kitchen, to feel the chill
on my heated throat. Camphor, too,
White Vick, in her scullery medicine cabinet I stood on a chair
to tidy, over and over, inhaling
Green disinfectant, TCP for wounds, the talcum powder tin
dusted with Ashes of
Violet. They are here below the brambly grasses now,
a dim haze beneath the astringent
Green like Izal toilet paper, austere and glossy; and an eau de
cologne stick to write cool words on feverish foreheads,
White wax like a lipstick candle. And still, musky, lying low,
quietly sensual, deep deep down among the
Green and the spotless
White but the mostly
Violet, sweetening the pale stem of my wrist, warming my pulse.