Author Catherine Cookson

Catherine Cookson
Catherine Cookson (June 27, 1906 – June 11, 1998) was an British author.

Here are some interesting facts about the late British author Catherine Cookson:

  • She was born as Catherine Ann McMullen on June 27, 1906 in South Shields, County Durham, England.
  • She was the illegitimate child of an alcoholic name Kate Fawcett.
  • Catherine grew up thinking her unmarried mother was her sister.
  • She was raised by her grandparents.
  • Catherine’s father’s name was Alexander Davies, a bigamist and gambler from Lanarkshire.
  • She left school at age 14.
  • Catherine took a domestic service job and the took a laundry job at Harton Workhouse in South Shields.Catherine Silent Lady
  • In 1929, she moved south to run the laundry at Hastings Workhouse where she saved her earnings and bought a Victorian house and rented out the extra rooms.
  • In 1940, at the age of 34 Catherine married Tom Cookson, a teacher at the local grammar school.
  • She suffered 4 miscarriages which happened late in each pregnancy.
  • Catherine had the rare vascular disease called telangietashia, which causes bleeding from the nose, fingers, and stomach, which results in anemia.
  • She had a mental breakdown after last miscarriage and it took her over a decade to recover.
  • Catherine started writing to help with her depression.
  • Her first novel, “Kate Hannigan,” was published 1950.
  • Catherine didn’t consider her books as romance, but instead historical novels about people and conditions she knew.
  • She wrote almost 100 books, with sales of over 123 million copies and translations into over 20 languages.
  • Catherine wrote some books under two pseudonyms, Catherine Marchant and Katie McMullen.
  • She was the most borrowed author from public libraries in the UK for 17 years ending 4 years after her death when Jacqueline Wilson took her spot in 2002.
  • Catherine pledged over £800,000 to the University of Newcastle in 1985. A foundation in her honor continues to make donations to worthy causes in the UK.
  • Eighteen of Catherine’s books were adapted for TV between 1990 and 2001.
  • For, the last few years of her life she was bed-ridden.
  • Catherine died at the age of 91, sixteen days before her 92nd birthday.
  • Her husband died 17 days later at age 86.

Find her books on MeL: Catherine Cookson