The Sylvia Townsend Warner Archive
Valentine Ackland Valentine Ackland
1906 - 1969
Valentine Ackland was born in London in 1906. Although her family was wealthy and educated she had an unhappy childhood, deprived of real affection. Her first poems were published in Modern Anthology in 1923. She married Richard Turpin when she was nineteen, but divorced six months later. She moved to Chaldon in Dorset where she was able to live more freely and it was there that she met Sylvia Townsend Warner. They lived together from 1930 until Valentine’s death. Both Sylvia and Valentine became communists in the 1930s and volunteered in the Red Cross during the Spanish Civil War. After the Second World War, Valentine recovered from alcoholism and ended a long-term love affair that had threatened her relationship with Sylvia. However she returned to the Catholicism of her youth – a decision Sylvia found very difficult. Valentine died in 1969, aged sixty-three. With Sylvia she was the author of Whether a Dove or Seagull. The Nature of the Moment, Further Poems of Valentine Ackland and Sylvia: An Honest Account were all published posthumously.