A critically-acclaimed novelist and cultural historian, Jacqueline has always been fascinated by beautiful, historic and quirky things.
Having trained as a curator, she worked on art exhibitions in Manchester and Sheffield, before pursuing a PhD looking at, among other things, the eccentric lives of Victorian collectors.
When it came to finding a story for her debut novel, Kissing Alice, she drew extensively on her knowledge of this world of priceless heirlooms, fakes, forgeries and treasures to create a sweeping tale of the 20th Century, before examining the subject in more detail for her groundbreaking popular history, Magpies, Squirrels and Thieves.
Jacqueline is curious about many subjects from archaeology and politics to the best way to keep pigs. She continues to contribute to exhibitions and is a Director of the Guild of St George, an arts, education and environmental charity established by Victorian artist and critic, John Ruskin. But books have always been her first love, both reading and writing them.
Regularly short-listed for prestigious literary awards, Jacqueline’s novels look at the twentieth century through the eyes of those who lived through some of its most significant events, whether that’s war in Europe or the 1969 moon landings. Meanwhile, the nineteenth century keeps her busy researching and writing acclaimed history books and articles.
She’s a contributor to several broadsheet newspapers and BBC Radio 4; is frequently invited to lecture at literary festivals, and teaches creative writing at the University of Aberystwyth, the Faber Academy and Guardian Masterclasses.
Yallop is a writer of rare fine judgement and delicacy”, The Daily Mail
“Yallop’s writing is subtle and nuanced”, The Sunday Times
“Spellbinding”, The Independent
“Yallop gets hold of her ideas with attractive energy and enthusiasm”, The Financial Times
Jacqueline’s latest book is a memoir entitled Big Pig, Little Pig: The Tale of Two Pigs in France (August 2017)
She is available as a guest speaker and reviewer on subjects including collecting and curating; museums; the nineteenth-century, and pig-keeping.
Three lovely editions through the post this week. Go Pigs! pic.twitter.com/7orr3YjahR
As heard on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week
When Jacqueline moves to south-west France with her husband, she embraces rural village life and buys two pigs to rear for slaughter. But as she gets to know the animals better, her English sentimentality threatens to get in the way and she begins to wonder if she can actually bring herself to kill them. This is a memoir about that fateful decision, but it’s also about the ethics of meat eating in the modern age, and whether we should know, respect and even love the animals we eat.
At its heart, this book is a love story, exploring the increasing attachment of the author for her particular pigs, and celebrating the enduring closeness of humans and pigs over the centuries.
DREAMSTREETS: A JOURNEY THROUGH BRITAIN’S VILLAGE UTOPIAS- Buy it here
Twenty years ago, Jacqueline Yallop began her working life leading guided walks at a small village high in the fells of the North Pennines. Built by philanthropic employers for families working the lead mines, the isolated settlement was one of a network of ‘model’ villages which sprang up across Britain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
In Dreamstreets, Yallop visits, and re-visits, some of these utopian experiments to explore their rich histories and to understand the social, political and cultural contexts from which they emerged. From Scotland’s New Lanark mills to the imposing market square at Tremadog in Wales and the Arts and Crafts cottages of Port Sunlight, she walks the avenues and terraces to examine what remains of the impulses and ideals which made these villages so fashionable.
Mixing social and political history, art and architecture, travelogue, biography, aesthetics and philosophy with memoir and on-the-ground observation,Dreamstreets draws on Yallop’s experience as a novelist, bringing her scholarly research to life in an energetic account of the complex and contradictory factors which changed the British landscape. Looking at everything from sewage systems to sculpture, chocolate to coal, and free trade to electoral emancipation, this book is a personal exploration of why and how these village utopias came about, what they tell us about the past, and how they still resonate with us today.
“Personal impressions and political commentary are combined to compelling effect” –The Independent
“This is a fascinating book, a glimpse through the keyhole of homes that turn out to be stages set for a performance.”- Financial Times
“Intriguing… The descriptions of place, surface and mood are sharp and tangible”- Guardian
“A fascinating study of how human life is moulded and shaped by big money. It is…sobering.” -Charlie Gilmour Independent On Sunday
“Provides valuable food for thought.” – Gillian Tindall Literary Review
PUBLICATION DATE: 2nd June 2016
MARLFORD – Buy it here.
Ellie Barton has spent her young life living in the dilapidated manor house with her elderly father. Her duty is to her aristocratic lineage, something of which she is often reminded by those few people around her. But Marlford, the local village founded by her grandfather, is in decay – subsidence from the old salt mines is destroying the buildings, the books in the memorial library are mouldering, and old loyalties and assumptions are shifting. When two idealistic young men decide to squat in the closed wing of the house, they show her a world much wider than Marlford, and Ellie begins to feel trapped beneath the unbearable weight of history and expectation.
“An unsettling novel… into whose claustrophobic spell one is drawn” Mail on Sunday
PUBLISHER: Atlantic Books; Reissue edition
PUBLICATION DATE: 5 Feb. 2015
OBEDIENCE – Buy it here
“A work of great originality, devastating in its impact” The Daily Mail
Sister Bernard has lived in a grey-stone convent in rural France for more than seventy years. In that time, a once youthful and lively cloister has gradually emptied, until only Bernard and two other nuns remain. Now, the three women pack away their few possessions into wooden boxes, preparing to leave the building that has been their home for decades. For the nuns, the closing of the convent means more than losing a home; the walls have shielded them from a changing modern world, for Sister Bernard the quiet monotony of the religious life has protected her from memories of the past – the disgrace of when she was a young woman in wartime France; when her devotion to God faded in the face of her need for a young Nazi soldier; and when she experienced the full horror and violence of war.
PUBLISHER: Atlantic Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 Sept. 2012
MAGPIES, SQUIRRELS AND THIEVES: HOW THE VICTORIANS COLLECTED THE WORLD – Buy it here.
Longlisted for the Longman-History Today Book of the Year
During the Victorian age, British collectors were among the most active, passionate and eccentric in the world. Magpies, Squirrels and Thieves tells the stories of some of the nineteenth century’s most intriguing collectors following their perilous journeys across the globe in the hunt for rare and beautiful objects. From art connoisseur John Charles Robinson, to the aristocratic scholar Charlotte Schreiber, who ransacked Europe for treasure, and from London’s fashionable Pre-Raphaelite circle to pioneering Orientalists in Beijing, Jacqueline Yallop plunges us into the cut-throat world of the Victorian mania for collecting.
“A fascinating read” – The Spectator
PUBLISHER: Atlantic Books; Main edition
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 April 2012
KISSING ALICE – Buy it here
Arthur Craythorne has barely married Queenie May when he is called away to fight in the First World War. When he returns from the trenches, he is a changed man and his wife and two young daughters, Alice and Florrie, strive hard to steer clear of his aggression and make him proud…Although Florrie follows Arthur into the Catholic Church, it is Alice he seems to favour, and Florrie seethes with envy of her sister as she watches them grow closer. But Arthur’s attentions towards Alice prove darker than either of them can yet acknowledge…And when Arthur dies, the three women he leaves behind must each find ways to cope with all that remains unspoken between them.
“a compelling story and fine prose” The Orange Award for New Writers
PUBLISHER: Atlantic Books; Main edition
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 Sept. 2010