Catherine Cookson

(1906-1998) – Author

Born in South Shields in County Durham, Catherine Cookson had a very deprived childhood and left school at fourteen. She moved to Hastings as an adult to run her own laundry and married at the age of thirty-four, but had a series of miscarriages which led to a breakdown; it took her ten years to recover. She took up writing as a form of therapy and had her first novel published in 1950 when she was forty-four. By the time she died, Catherine had published over 100 books, with many being adapted for film and television. Catherine was also known for donating to the arts, medicine and services for children and young people, particularly in the Newcastle area, Catherine Cookson’s novels were always on my mother’s bookshelves and my sister and I started reading them in our early teens. We really enjoyed the sagas, the well-told, engrossing stories and romances which nonetheless never shied away from issues such as poverty, class divisions and prejudice. 

Sharmilla Beezmohun

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