About Jamie

Jamie McGarry was born in Norwich in 1988, and spent his childhood in North Wales and Yorkshire. Fascinated by books from an early age, he produced his first one in 1994, aged six. (This publication was rediscovered and posted online here, some twenty years later.)

He continued to experiment with design and publishing throughout his youth, as well as engaging in occasional bursts of writing ... and quite a few other things too. Between 2001 and 2008, Jamie was part of a Robot Wars team (which won at least one series), produced a 700-strip webcomic (which in its heyday was one of the most popular in the UK), starred in a long-running podcast (which started at least one BBC Radio 4 writer's career), and ran a semi-official website for the band Prefab Sprout.

His thoughts returned to books around 2007, when he began to write poetry (enough for a slim volume) and also completed a short novel, all whilst studying for a degree in English Literature and Culture in Scarborough. In October 2008, he produced a small run of his own work, and named this new 'press' after Scarborough's Valley Road, Valley Bridge and Valley Bar, places within throwing distance of his current student accommodation.

It was in 2009, after meeting some interesting local poets, that Jamie realised 'Valley Press' could be more than a one-off experiment - and that publishing other people's books could be a very interesting way to pass the time. By the time he graduated in 2010, Valley Press had published ten titles - and after a short and dispiriting search for a better job, Jamie began running VP full-time in January 2011.

He continues in this role today, still living in Scarborough, with Valley Press now one of the most respected 'small press' operations in the UK. Highlights have included the business being Highly Commended in the 2012 Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards (which made it officially one of the top thirty graduate businesses in the UK, at the time), and Jamie receiving an invite to meet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace in 2013, in honour of his contributions to 'contemporary British poetry'. More importantly, Valley Press has published almost seventy individual books, and sold tens of thousands of copies of them; you can now find a few VP logos in most high street bookshops.

In 2014, Jamie became a 'published author' himself when the Emma Press resurrected his sequence of poems about snails, The Dead Snail Diaries. He is not currently working on any new writing, but hopes to one day in the not-so-distant future - when things calm down a bit.


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