Laurie Lee

Down in the Valley
  • Down in the Valley

  • A moving portrait of the landscape that shaped the life of Laurie Lee, the beloved author of Cider With Rosie

    'Before I left the valley I thought everywhere was like this. Then I went away for 40 years and when I came back I realized that nowhere was like this.'

    Laurie Lee walked out of his childhood village one summer morning to travel the world, but he was always drawn back to his beloved Slad Valley, eventually returning to make it his home.

    In this portrait of his Cotswold home, Laurie Lee guides us through its landscapes, and shares memories of his village youth - from his favourite pub to winter skating on the pond, the church through the seasons, local legends, learning the violin and playing jazz records in the privy on a wind-up gramophone.

    Filled with wry humour and a love of place, Down in the Valley is a writer's tribute to the landscape that shaped him, and where he found peace.

Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1914, and was educated at Slad village school and Stroud Central School. At the age on nineteen he walked to London and then travelled on foot through Spain, as described in his book As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In 1950 he married Catherine Polge and they had one daughter. Cider With Rosie (1959) has sold over six million copies worldwide, and was followed by two other volumes of autobiography: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). Laurie Lee also published four collections of poems, The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles (1947), My Many-Coated Man (1955) and Packet Poems (1960) as well as The Voyage of Magellan (1948), a verse play for radio, A Rose for Winter (1955), which records his travels in Andalusia, The Firstborn (1964), I Can't Stay Long (1975), a collection of his writing, and Two Women (1983). Laurie Lee died in May 1997. In its obituary the Guardian wrote, 'He has a nightingale inside him, a capacity for sensuous, lyrical precisions'.


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