Valerie Bloom

writer and performance poet


JamaicaI was born in Clarendon, Jamaica, and grew up in and around Frankfield, a sleepy little town surrounded by beautiful mountains. The eldest girl in a family of nine children, I’ve always known a life of activity, community and language.

My love of language and literature was fostered by memorising passages from the King James version of the Bible;  by listening to my mother, grandmother and older brother reciting poems they had learnt at school; and by reading every bit of print I could get hold of- library books, newspapers, pamphlets…

My first taste of what it must be to be a ‘writer’ came when I was at primary school and one of my poems was published in the National Newspaper.  A few years later my poem  Mek Ah Ketch Har (Let me catch her), won a bronze medal in the national festival and was included in the festival anthology for the following year.  It was quite a thrill to turn on the television and see school – children who’d won gold medals in the festival performing my poem.  The writing bug had bitten and there was no cure.

After school, I trained and worked as a teacher, before coming to the UK in the late 70s. I got a degree in English with African and Caribbean Studies from the university of Kent; worked as a steel pan instructor; and  did a stint as an Arts Officer before deciding to be a full-time writer.

I have a great many interests apart from my work.  I won’t list them all, but to name a couple, I’m passionate about gardening. Whether it’s the patient work of training a bonsai, or the satisfaction of bringing home weird and wonderful fruits and veg from the allotment, I just love it!  I enjoy cooking and am now discovering the joys of vegan cooking now that I’ve eliminated animal products from my diet.

Find out more about what I’ve written under work.

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