Salley Vickers grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party. Her father was a trade union leader and her mother a social worker. She won a state scholarship to St Paul’s Girl’s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge. She has worked as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist’s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature and a psychoanalyst. She now writes full time and lectures widely on many subjects, particularly the connections between, art, literature, psychology and religion. Her principal interests are opera, bird watching, dancing and poetry, to which her father introduced her at an early age. One of his favourite poets, W.B.Yeats was responsible for her name Salley, (the Irish for 'willow') which comes from Yeats’s poem set to music by Benjamin Britten 'Down by the salley gardens'. She has two adult sons, and two grandchildren. She is a member of PEN and the RSPB.