Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Passing of a Literary Gaint

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Passing of a Literary Gaint

Article excerpt

TYNESIDE and the literary world were in mourning today in 1998, following the death of Catherine Cookson.

The best-selling and widely loved author had passed away just nine days short of her 92nd birthday at her Jesmond home.

The writer battled a rare blood disorder throughout her life, suffering the agony of four miscarriages as a young woman.

A family friend told the Chronicle: "Her death was very quiet and peaceful and she was at home, where she wanted to be.

"It had been expected for some time. She had been so poorly for the last year, she's hardly seen anyone, just the medics caring for her.

"She was a tremendous fighter - she just never gave in."

As news of her death spread, tributes began to pour in for the woman whose rags-to-riches story was as dramatic as any of her books.

Her gritty books of life on Tyneside reflected her own humble origins and captivated millions when they were serialised on television.

Dame Catherine was born illegitimate in a two-bedroom house in Tyne Dock, South Shields, on June 20, 1906 and was raised by her grandparents.

She left school at 14 and entered service as lady's companion. She worked in the laundry of a workhouse on the south coast and spent the next 46 years of her life in Hastings.

It was there she met and married her schoolmaster husband, Tom.

The couple were childless and after four miscarriages she was admitted to hospital where it was discovered she had the rare blood disease that was to afflict her for the rest of her life.

Wor Kate returned to the North East in 1965. "Tom persuaded me to return to the North so I could die among my own folk," she said at the time.

Her first novel, Kate Hannigan, was published when she was 44 and she wrote nearly 80 books which have been translated into 17 languages with worldwide sales now totalling over 100 million. …

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