Catherine Cookson officially Dame Catherine Ann Cookson was an English author that went on to break records as the UK’s most widely read novelist. At the height of her popularity, her novel sales topped 100 million copies. Catherine Cookson is best known for writing romance novels and published her first novel in 1950.
Order of Catherine Cookson Short Story Collections
Order of Kate Hannigan Series
Order of The Mallen Trilogy Series
Order of The Tiller Trotter Trilogy Series
|2||Tilly Trotter Wed||1981|
|3||Tilly Trotter Widowed||1982|
Order of Mary Ann Shaughnessy Series
|1||A Grand Man (Short Story)||1954|
|2||The Lord and Mary Ann||1956|
|3||The Devil and Mary Ann||1958|
|4||Marriage and Mary Ann (Short Story)||1964|
|5||Mary Ann's Angels||1965|
|6||Mary Ann and Bill||1967|
|7||Life And Mary Ann||1972|
|8||Love and Mary Ann||1977|
|9||Bill and the Mary Ann Shaughnessy||2011|
Order of The Hamilton Trilogy Series
Order of The Bailey Chronicles Series
|2||Bill Bailey's Lot||1987|
|3||Bill Bailey's Daughter||1989|
|4||Bondage Of Love||1997|
Order of Catherine Cookson Standalone Novels
Order of Catherine Cookson Picture Books
|1||Nancy Nutall And The Mongrel (Short Story)||1990|
Order of Catherine Cookson Non-Fiction Books
Catherine Cookson was born in the town of South Shields in the North East of England on June 11th 1906. She was born an illegitimate child to an alcoholic mother, whom she had believed to be her sister while she was being brought up by her grandparents in County Durham. As was common at the time, Cookson left school at the age of 14, working in several manual labour jobs, and by the time she was in her early 20s, she had moved to Hastings in the south of England to run the laundry at the local workhouse. With her career blossiming, in 1940 she married Tom Cookson, a teacher at a local grammar school. However, their relationship was plagued by woe, as they were unable to conceive, suffering four miscarriages. It was later found out that she suffered from telangiectasia, which causes serious bleeding and anaemia. This caused Cookson’s mental health to degrade, and she eventually had a breakdown following the trauma of her miscarriages.
However, while her breakdown was clearly a low point in her life, Catherine Cookson turned to writing to help her recover. She joined a local writing group, and eventually wrote her first novels, Kate Hannigan, which was published in 1950. Amazingly, Cookson would write a follow up to her first piece of work, which was published after her death in 2001, called Kate Hannigan’s Girl.
Catherine Cookson wrote tales of people and of places and things she knew. And if she didn’t know them, she would research them in great detail. She claimed she did not feel comfortable writing about things she did not know or had not experienced. That is also why a lot of her work was focused on the north east of England and on working class people.
As well as writing under her own name, Catherine Cookson also wrote books under the pen name of Catherine Marchant and also Katie McMullen.
Catherine Cookson was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to literature and philanthropy in 1985, and she then became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire eight years later.
The success of Cookson’s work made them ripe for adaptation for radio, television and also film. In fact, it didn’t take long for one of her books to be adapted into a film, which was the film Jacqueline, which was based on A Grand Man, which was published in 1954. And following the success of Jacqueline, her book Rooney was adapted for film. But although Cookson’s work enjoyed success on film, it was on ITV that she gained her greatest success, with 18 of her books adapted for the small screen from 1990 unrtil 2001. The Fifteen Streets, one of her best-loved books, was the first to be shown on ITV, and it starred Sean Bean in 1990. The Fifteen Streets was nominated for an Emmy, but it was to be the second adaptation, The Black Velvet Gown, which would win the award the following year.
Cookson would continue her writing until her death in 1998, and she had several books awaiting publication, which were continued to be published until 2002. She has left an enduring legacy not only with her literature, but also in her philanthropic work with her donations to charities and foundations close to her heart.
Catherine Cookson published over 100 novels in her life that included standalones, autobiographies, and novel series. Her most popular series included the Mary Ann Stories, the Kate Hannigan series, the Mallen Novels, The Tilly Trotter Trilogy, the Hamilton series, and the Bill Bailey Trilogy. The Mary Ann stories are her most popular series with the 1954 published A Grand Man, the first novel in the series spawning seven more titles. Her novels are generally inspired by the childhood she spent in the North East of England town of Tyneside, which is the setting for most of her novels.
CATHERINE COOKSON AWARDS
For her literary works, Catherine Cookson was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which was later made into Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Given that she lived and set most of her novels in Tyneside, the University of Newcastle honored her with the Freedom of the Borough of South Tyneside, one of the most prestigious honorary degrees. Cookson was voted Writer of the year by the Variety Club of Great Britain. Her novel Round Tower was the winner of the best regional novel in the 1968 Winifred Holtby Awards.
CATHERINE COOKSON BOOKS INTO TV/MOVIES
Catherine Cookson has not only broken literary records with her books but also film records too. She is one of the United Kingdom’s writers with the largest number of books made into film and TV. Some of her novels made into movies include A Grand Man, Rooney, The Letter, Gladiator in Danger, Taggarine Ted, House of Men, The Mallens, Our John Willie, The Fifteen Streets, The Black Velvet Gown, The Black Candle, The Man Who Cried, The Cinder Path, The Dwelling Place, The Glass Virgin, and the Gambling Man among many others.
BEST CATHERINE COOKSON BOOKS
With over 100 million Catherine Cookson books sold, selecting the best novels among her works can be quite a daunting task. Nonetheless, the following are some of the most popular novels by Cookson.
The Dwelling Place: Published in 1971 is an emotionally charged novel that follows the lives of the Brodies. Set in the 1830’s, it sees Cissie Brodie a fifteen year old become an orphan after her parents die of cholera. She is now homeless and has to take care of her nine younger siblings. Even as she is hopelessly poor, she is possessed of a tenacious spirit and a will to survive, that drives her to make a shelter for the family. Although, it is only a rough stone house, her family finally has a place to call their own. They have family friends that offer them charity from time to time, but it is never enough, particularly in the face of the bitterness of those that hate them and the struggle to make good of a desperate situation.
Tilly Trotter: The debut novel of the Tilly Trotter Trilogy is the enthralling story of a girl who loves a man that is betrothed to another. It is such a great story; it is no surprise that the debut the novel was adapted into a movie. Tilly stands out among her peers, being coltish, tall, and unafraid to work to help her grandparents who have been her guardians since she was a child. She also has an unusual beauty that makes the men lust after her and the women envious of her. However, she only has eyes for Simon Bentwood the farmer, and is heartbroken to learn that he has been promised to another. But things are about to get worse for Tilly as the local women spread rumors of her being a witch, while a rejected suitor plans a terrible revenge. Brought up to soldier on even in the most difficult of situations, she refuses to let the locals break her spirit and believes the experience will only make her stronger.
Silent Lady: The 2002 published novel came out after the author’s death and fast became one of Catherine Cookson’s most popular novels. When a disheveled woman presents herself at the London offices of a respected law firm, the receptionist takes her for a vagrant. Demanding to see the senior partner, the receptionist tries to usher her out, only for the partner to come out after learning of the name of the bizarre visitor. It turns out that Irene Baindor had once been a woman of musical talent and class, wife to a powerful and wealthy man, and mother to a young child. What follows is a story detailing the life of Baindor in a marriage with a cruel husband that eventually led her to disappear without a trace.
Catherine Cookson FAQs
Q: What nationality was Catherine Cookson?
A: The author Catherine Cookson was English. She was born in the town of South Shields.
Q: When did Catherine Cookson die?
A: Catherine Cookson passed away on June 11 1998 at the age of 91, just 16 days from her 92 second birthday, in the suburb of Jesmond in Newcastle-upon-Tyne