Val taught English and Maths before moving to a career in IT, but is now pursuing her lifetime love of writing. She writes for the Forest of Dean Writers and the NaCOT Poetry group, and leads a writing group for Chepstow U3A. In recent years she has won the Chepstow Festival, Mid-Somerset Festival and Carers UK short story competitions, and her story ‘The Last Train’ was featured in Writing magazine. Her poetry has been recognised in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly and the Bridport Prize and she reads her work at the Mitcheldean Poetry Festival. She was awarded a Distinction for her MA and has now embarked on a novel, Careless Whisper.
In My Father’s Memory is a memoir centred around a father-daughter relationship. It touches on family history, but focuses mainly on the father’s final six years of life, during which he struggles with dementia and the daughter struggles with the challenge of caring for him.
The story balances pathos with humour and tenderness, while allowing the reader to share the day-by-day experience of living with dementia and the rollercoaster of emotions involved. These are presented both from the carer’s perspective and, via carefully recorded dialogue, from the father’s. Along the way, the nature and reliability of memory is examined.