Judy Darley, the author of Sky Light Rain, uses fiction writing as a means to delve into her wild and urban surroundings, as well as answer riddles about the scenes she glimpses in everyday life. But she explains, not every human mystery needs to be fully answered to satisfy both writer and reader.

‘Sky’, by the author

As a writer I’ve found that a lot of the fictions I create bubble up from my insatiable curiosity. I describe myself in bios as an author “who can’t stop writing about the fallibilities of the human mind.” …


Susan Furber’s debut novel The Essence of an Hour begins in 1941, “the last summer of American innocence”, when eighteen-year-old Lillie Carrigan is desperate to love and be loved, to lose her virginity, to experience her life’s great, epic romance. A decade later, searching for patterns and meaning in the events of that year, and anxious to understand the person she has become, Lillie reflects on the darkness of her tarnished youth and confesses her sins.

Read on to discover the first chapter of this honest, moving novel, “reminiscent of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar” (Christine Dwyer Hickey), “told with…


Introducing our latest publication, and its four-year journey from submission to shelf. (N.B. If you’d like future editions of this blog to be sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up on the Valley Press homepage.)

Dear readers,

Hope you’re all keeping well and warm out there. I want to start by taking you back to spring 2017, when we were sending out longlisted submissions from 2016 to a vast team of volunteer readers to get their views on what should (or shouldn’t) be published by Valley Press over the next couple of years.

One of them was a…


Our first news roundup of the year features a freshly-released memoir, an update on submissions, two notable bits of publicity and a poem by Rebecca Swift. (N.B. If you’d like future editions of this blog to be sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up on the Valley Press homepage.)

Scarborough seafront, 9th January 2021 — taken during the writing of this article (the thinking part, anyway).

Dear readers,

In the UK, a new year has brought with it a new lockdown, and with that comes a generous helping of darkness and uncertainty — but hope, too, and from us at least, books. …


Suddenly, while living, Rosie Driffill’s body stopped. Struck down by medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), and too ill to function as she did before, she found comfort in writing — the result being a compelling memoir of a year in the unwelcome company of a “mystery illness”, that also included the more welcome visitors of self-help, comedy and poetry.

Some of Rosie’s other reasons for writing a book — including a shameless desire to get her hands on your crisp five-pound notes — are listed below, in this exclusive extract. …


Sarah Penny was born in South Africa, and now lives in London, lecturing in Creative Writing at Brunel University. Her novel The Beneficiaries, recounting the search for truth in post-apartheid South Africa, was first published there in 2002, and has become part of the nation’s history in its own right — absorbed by a new generation of secondary school children who studied it as a set-text in 2013/14.

In 2019, the novel was published for the first time in the UK, in a revised edition, by Valley Press. …


A brief manual for Valley Press authors (and any other interested parties), detailing the twelve major stages of a book’s journey from our subs pile to the shelves. We’ve included notes on timing where appropriate (always a hot topic), who is responsible for what, and the cost to us of each stage, so you can get a sense of the investment we’re making in you and your work. We hope you find it useful, and if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. (Last updated: 9th April 2019)

Stage 1: Contract

What happens: We send you a PDF…


As a former lawyer, Brighton-based writer Kate Smith is fascinated by legal constructs, particularly when they’re turned upside down and inside out to shed light on the messy business of being alive. In her debut novel The Negligents, she uses the framework of a negligence claim to explore the nature of friendship, of family loyalty and how a simple act of carelessness can have deeply toxic consequences. Read on for the beginning of Polina and Grace’s story — and if you’re suitably intrigued, pick up a copy of the book in various formats here.

The paperback edition in the Valley Press office, and author Kate Smith.

LOSS/DAMAGE

‘Why do we begin with loss?’


Edinburgh-based novelist Nora Chassler ‘breaks all moulds’, according to William Boyd — a quote which seems particularly apt for her new publication, Madame Bildungsroman’s Optimistic Worldview. Billed as a collection of ‘fragments, pensées and table-talk’, the book is an extended meditation on life and literature, narrated to (and sometimes by) a life-sized papier-mâché mannequin. Read on for a taste of what to expect, and if you’re suitably intrigued, you can order the paperback or limited-edition hardback here.

Nora Chassler at her home in Edinburgh.

Magic Cast

No sooner had Madame Bildungsroman uttered the sentence ‘I refuse to speak in the first person’ than things started appearing on her papier-mâché…


The work of celebrated Chinese writer Ye Guangqin will be published in English this year, by the UK’s Valley Press. In her homeland, the author’s acclaim led to her work being adapted into a TV serial, an experience which inspired the tale below; taken from her first English-language collection Mountain Stories.

Ye Guangqin in the mountains (Image © Taibai Publishing House)

“On camera” is a piece of jargon used in the media circle. It actually means to make an appearance on the film screen. If you mention this word to ordinary people most of them will not understand it. …

Valley Press

First-class publishing on the Yorkshire coast since 2009 — fiction, non-fiction, poetry and more. Excerpts and articles here, more info at valleypressuk.com

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