Vanessa Jones is a fiction writer of novels, short stories and screenplays, but she began her writing career with a stage play for a fringe theatre company. She co-wrote another play GSOH with the comedian Arthur Smith. Vanessa has written three novels, all of which experiment with different genres and explore themes of identity and belonging. Her first book Twelve (Flamingo, 2000) centres on a group of 20-somethings trying to find their way in an anonymous city; her second The Kindest Use a Knife (Flamingo, 2002) is a crime novel about a young man accused of murdering his best friend; and her third Somewhere Nowhere is a family saga in which the eldest generation are ghosts.
Vanessa won an Arts Council award in 2003 for the first 10,000 words of Somewhere Nowhere, and also received the Clarissa Luard award for the most promising writer under 35. As an RLF project fellow in 2003–04 Vanessa taught writing skills at the international development organisation, Plan UK. Since then she has continued to write and edit reports, manuals, proposals and other communications for a host of development agencies, including the United Nations.
In 2003, Twelve was translated into Italian and published as Dodici (Voland). Vanessa subsequently moved to Rome in 2005, and continues to live there with her young daughter. Since 2010, she has co-written two screenplays for Pampaset Productions, and has set up an online publishing company, Trapeze Books, with the RLF Fellow Brian Keaney.