A Catherine Cookson Surprise

One of the nice things about writing biography is that a lot of the people you meet during your research keep in touch with you afterwards.  You suddenly have a circle of new friends and sometimes even become an honorary family member.  The Catherine Cookson biography was one of those.  I met some lovely people, particularly among Catherine's wider family.
Catherine Cookson with her beloved husband Tom 

Last week, as I was packing up to come to Italy for Christmas the telephone rang and it was one of Catherine's cousins from Australia who just happened to be staying in Cumbria for a couple of days and could she come and visit me with her husband?  It was a lovely surprise.  I flashed round with the duster and the hoover (does any writer have a tidy house?) put the kettle on and whizzed out to the Spar for some chocolate biscuits before they arrived.

The Australian Cookson Cousins, looking rather damp and cold on a bleak, Cumbrian winter's day.
It was a really interesting morning.  It turned out that both husband and wife were Catherine's cousins, through her husband Tom Cookson, and they shared stories of visits to Catherine's home when they were young and she was their much loved  'Aunt Kitty'.  I was able to give them copies of photographs and birth certificates and other family material you accumulate when you write someone's life story and it's all now on its way to Australia.

Such a nice surprise for a gloomy winter morning!  And it's spurred me on to revise my Cookson biography for re-publication after Random House withdrew their permission to quote from some of Catherine's novels and made it impossible to reprint the original.  When I get back to the UK after Christmas, I'm going to re-write the book without the quotes, but including all the new information that I have from family and friends. Watch this space!


  1. Such a lovely story, worthy of CC. She sprinkled quite a bit of fairy dust lasting even into the presents time. Looking forward to the revised edition,
    And I hope you have a lovely 2015. wxx

    1. Thank you Wendy - I love it when your books go out into the world and bring people to you. Happy xmas!


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