Journalist and writer. Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, feature writer, 1990—. Previously served as editor of Weekend Review, Good Weekend and the National Times on Sunday; worked as a dancer and actor.
Connie Sweetheart, 1990.
The Allens Affair: How One Man Shook the Foundations of a Leading Australian Law Firm, Pan Macmillan Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1995.
Out of the Sky She Came: The Life of P.L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins, Hodder (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999, published as Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.
Out of the Sky She Came was adapted into documentaries.
Australian journalist and writer Valerie Lawson first became interested in writer P.L. Travers when she learned from a colleague that Travers was from Australia. "The fact that she was so mysterious drew me to her," Lawson told Biljana Radovic for a profile on the Sydney Writers' Festival Web site. "I felt like I wanted to find out as much about her as possible and that is why I flew all over the world looking for clues about the real Travers." In her book Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers, first published in Australia as Out of the Sky She Came: The Life of P.L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins, Lawson follows Travers from her youth and the death of her parents at a relatively young age to her amazing success as a writer and creator of the iconic nanny Mary Poppins. The author details Travers's personal life, including her interest in esoteric teach- ings and the psychological and emotional factors that contributed to Travers's creation of the magical nanny Mary Poppins. Referring in Booklist to the biography as "ambitious," Michael Cart went on to note that it "may help restore a diminished literary reputation." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the author "offers an intriguing, surprisingly rich literary life," adding: "Lawson ably encompasses the life of this mysterious, many-sided author, from nymph to mother to crone." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the author "captures the melancholy of Travers's retreat into isolation and old age." Chelsea Cain, writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted: "Valerie Lawson has devoted years of scholarly study to Mary Poppins and her creator, and die-hard Poppins fans will no doubt greet her copiously researched book … with a great clattering of umbrellas and carpetbags."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2006, Michael Cart, review of Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers, p. 18.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Mary Poppins, She Wrote, p. 824.
Library Journal, October 15, 2006, Stacy Russo, review of Mary Poppins, She Wrote, p. 60.
New York Times Book Review, October 22, 2006, Chelsea Cain, review of Mary Poppins, She Wrote, p. 25.
Publishers Weekly, August 21, 2006, review of Mary Poppins, She Wrote, p. 62.
Ark, Radio National (Australia) Web site,http://www.abc.net.au/rn/relig/ark/ (February 23, 2007), Rachael Kohn, "The Mystic Life of P.L. Travers," interview with author.
Australian Literary Management Web site,http://www.austlit.com/ (February 23, 2007), brief profile of author.
Sydney Writers' Festival Web site,http://www.festivalnews.uts.edu.au/ (February 23, 2007), Biljana Radovic, "Parallel Lives: Profile: Valerie Lawson."