Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Born 110 Years Ago Today, the Tyneside Author Who Sold over 100 Million Books; DAVID MORTON on the Literary Phenomenon That Was Our Own Dame Catherine Cookson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Born 110 Years Ago Today, the Tyneside Author Who Sold over 100 Million Books; DAVID MORTON on the Literary Phenomenon That Was Our Own Dame Catherine Cookson

Article excerpt

CATHERINE Cookson's gritty novels depicting life in early 20th Tyneside reflected her own humble origins and captivated millions when they were serialised on television.

The best-selling author was born Catherine Ann McMullen on this day 110 years ago.

The youngster entered the world illegitimate in a two-bedroom house in Tyne Dock, South Shields, on June 27, 1906 and was raised by her grandparents.

It was an age of electric tram cars and gas lamps.

Catherine left school at 14 and entered service as a lady's companion.

Heading to the south coast, she worked in the laundry of a workhouse, before spending 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.

She began writing to help comes to terms with her illness and turned out scores of novels. Her first effort, Kate Hannigan, was published when she was 44 - and she wrote nearly 80 more books which have been translated into 17 languages with worldwide sales totalling over 100 million.

Many of her novels have been transferred to stage, film and radio. The first film from her work was Jacqueline (1956), directed by Roy Ward Baker, based on her book A Grand Man It was followed by Rooney (1958), directed by George Pollock, based on her book Rooney. Both starred John Gregson, the actor perhaps best known for his leading role in the classic British comedy Genevieve.

In 1983 Katie Mulholland was adapted into a stage musical by composer Eric Boswell and writerdirector Ken Hill.

Television was late to latch on to the Cookson phenomenon - but once they did so they found a rich seam.

Eighteen books were adapted for television between 1990 and 2001. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.