One of the bestselling and most beloved novelists of all time, Dame Catherine Cookson's story is as dramatic as any of her novels. Her recent death allows at last a full and frank account of a life story that had been as carefully reworked and edited as any of her fiction.
Born in 1906, the illegitimate daughter of a domestic servant, Catherine Cookson was brought up in the slums of Tyne Dock, one of the poorest communities in the Western world. Her mother once begged from door to door for food, and the family lived in constant fear of the workhouse. Catherine's childhood was marred by violence, alcoholism, shame and guilt.
But through remarkable courage and determination, at the age of 23 she managed to escape and make a new life for herself. Later, after a nervous breakdown and a series of stillbirths and miscarriages, she attempted to "write it all out". The Catherine Cookson Novel became a new literary genre and a publishing phenomenon was born.
Despite her legendary success, she was haunted by failure and insecurity. Drawing on material never published before, including early drafts of her autobiography and hours of revealing taped conversations, Kathleen Jones discloses for the first time the secrets the famous author excised from her public life - including her tortured feelings for her mother and her intense and devastating relationship with Nan Smith, who almost succeeded in wrecking her marriage to Tom Cookson.
This is at last the true story of a woman who has touched the hearts of more than 123 million readers worldwide.
- Publication Date:
- 28 / 02 / 2001
- 150 x 233mm