Dr Valerie Mason-John grew up in Dr Barnardo's foster homes and ended up on the streets aged 14. Locked up at 15 for shoplifting, her life turned around when she was released from Borstal aged 17. She went to college and became an international correspondent covering Aboriginal Australian deaths in custody, Sinn Fein Prisoners, and many other political issues in the 90s. Author of seven books, her first novel Borrowed Body (renamed 'The Banana Kid') won the Mind Book of the Year Award 2006, beating Joan Didion's 'The Year of Magical Thinking'. Her most recent book, 'The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry 2013' is the first national anthology of this kind and has won critical acclaim. She is currently co-writing 'Eight Step Recovery: Using the Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction'. Ordained into the Triratna Buddhist community, she continues to write fiction and non-fiction and blogs regularly for wildmind.org. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East London in 2006 for her lifetime achievements and contribution to the African Diaspora. She currently resides in Canada.Read more Read less
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