Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

End of a Great Love Affair with Wor Kate

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

End of a Great Love Affair with Wor Kate

Article excerpt

Byline: By Daniel Cochlin

Her books were packed with sweeping tales of grand romance, but it seems the North-East is falling out of love with Catherine Cookson.

The darling of South Tyneside, who died in 1998, was a permanent fixture in the top 10 best-sellers throughout her life.

But now her crown seems to be slipping. Having been top choice with book borrowers for 28 years, latest figures show she does not even feature in the top 10 of the most-checked out library books ( for the first time since records began.

Her replacement at the number one spot is Josephine Cox ( who many consider to be the natural heir to Dame Catherine ( with four novels in the top 10, according to North-East figures released to library group the Public Lending Right (PLR).

American blockbuster authors John Grisham and Dan Brown, whose The Da Vinci Code has sold millions of copies worldwide, also make the list, as does Patricia Cornwall.

The national picture is similar, with Cookson, whose books sold more than 100 million copies in 30 countries, sinking to the 11th most-popular author for borrowers.

Yet just five years ago, her books filled nine out of the top 10 spots for UK library-goers. Fans of Wor Kate suggested that after she died, it was obvious her popularity would plummet.

Film producer Ray Marshall, who adapted 18 of Cookson's books for the screen, said he believes her novels are as popular as ever with readers all around the world.

He added: "What kept Catherine Cookson at the top of the PLR figures was that she constantly released books which sold in huge numbers and were read again and again in libraries.

"But there have been no new books and it's pretty inevitable that with people like Dan Brown selling huge numbers she would drop off the top spot. I don't think there is anything of a drop-off in loyalty, in terms of people who read her books, but I doubt there is a single dead author whose figures keep rising."

In South Tyneside, where Cookson was born in 1906, there was a similar reaction. South Shields Central Library assistant Joanne Gledhill said: "I don't ever see Catherine Cookson books going out. There is a selection of them on the shelves, but I just think people want different authors."

A PLR spokeswoman said: "Catherine Cookson historically has been even more demanded by readers in the North-East than anywhere else, as it is her territory and her novels tend to do very well. …

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