Vanessa Nicolson is the granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. She grew up in London and Florence and has worked as an art historian and journalist. Today, she tells us a little bit more about the woman behind the books. 

Vanessa Nicolson

Vanessa Nicolson

I love my local Kentish countryside in the Spring. The blossom and the bluebells lift the heart.

But I also can’t live without the stimulation of the city. I have worked as an art historian and most weeks I try to get to a gallery or exhibition in London.

When I was a child I turned the dreams I had at night into stories. Being an only child makes you spend more time in your head.

My husband buys me chocolate and then eats it all himself.

I am half Italian, and crave the sun. Grey days are hard.

We have a black and white rescue cat called Dave who spends every sunny day asleep on the shed roof before coming in to watch telly in the evening – nice life.

I have had two memoirs published now. It is a therapeutic experience to revisit the past and trace the threads of connection between ourselves and others.

I hope that by writing I can explore difficult feelings that tend to remain hidden. The biggest compliment is when readers tell me they identify with the dark stuff, and thank me for bringing it to light.

Compassion and humour are the most important things to me. We need plenty of both in this crazy world.

It takes me a long time to get going with my writing.  Pressure to produce something quickly gets me started, but if a deadline is more open ended, I prevaricate. All the washing and cleaning gets done, bills get paid on time, and any distraction – a walk with a friend, a suggestion of a meeting in a café - is taken up.

However, once I have got into the flow, I find it difficult to take a break. Hours disappear. It’s a wonderful release.