Catherine Cookson by Debbie Jabbour (Catherine Cookson Biographer)
A Biography

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Catherine Cookson is one of the most popular and most read English authors of all time, with more than 100 million books sold. She didn't begin writing until she was in her forties, doing so as a form of therapy after a miscarriage and subsequent mental breakdown. Her writing was informed by personal experience, but Cookson was also at heart both a feminist and a socialist. Although many critics, particularly male ones, put down her work as nothing more than romance fiction, in reality she addressed profound social issues that impacted the poor working class in Britain during the beginning of the 20th century. These conditions had a particular impact on women. Cookson was able to write authoritatively because she herself experienced extreme poverty and hardship as a child, yet through hard work and determination was able to take an alternative path in life.

Her personal story is retold in countless variations through her novels. Although she did write several autobiographies and books specifically about her own life, each Cookson novel replicates the tale of a heroine who is disadvantaged in some way by the circumstances of her birth and goes on to succeed through hard work and personal conviction. Although Cookson wrote her first story at the age of 11, she did not embrace writing as a career until she was in her 40s, and it wasn't until some ten years later that she finally began to enjoy the financial benefits.


Debbie Jabbour is a psychologist, writer, musician, mother and grandmother; passionate for family, home, and country; always learning and ready to embrace the power of change. After enjoying many years as a professional musician, she returned to university to earn a Masters in Applied Psychology, minor in Communications, and is now starting a new career as a Registered Psychologist. For many years Debbie wrote a regular column on academic, political, health, and general interest issues, and now writes freelance on a range of topics. Canadian by birth, she has lived and traveled in Latin America and speaks fluent Spanish. The quality of Debbie's writing is enhanced by her broad life experience, insight into human nature, and research expertise; and she approaches topics with a sense of humor and a keen interest in people, history, politics, culture and the arts. Over the years Debbie has experienced both the best and worst in life, and has developed a personal philosophy rooted in Nietzsche: That which does not kill me makes me stronger.


As part of her drive to succeed, Cookson took voice lessons to learn to control her Geordie accent, which was so strong that most people couldn't understand her. In 1929 she traveled to the south of England to Hastings, where she took a position as head laundress in a workhouse. She vowed never to return to her former life and home. Cookson went through cultural growing pains during her years in Hastings. She worked hard to live the life of a working class girl, but this was complicated by a relationship she developed with Nan Smyth, a possibly bisexual woman. For a time Cookson also allowed her alcoholic mother to live with her, which created further problems.

However, Cookson worked hard and saved her money. After four years she managed to purchase The Hurst, a Victorian mansion with 14 bedrooms which served as a boarding house for working people, a "gentlemen's residence." With Nan and her mother's help she ran the boarding house for several years. In 1936, when she was 34, she finally developed her first serious relationship with a man. Tom Cookson was a school teacher and Oxford graduate who had been a lodger in her boarding house. He was five years younger and both called it love at first sight.


Background and Basics
+ Who Is Catherine Cookson?
+ Background and Upbringing

Catherine Cookson the Author
+ Setting Out on Her Own
+ Major Work and Accomplishments

...and much more

About Debbie Jabbour (Catherine Cookson Biographer)

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Published May 22, 2012 by Hyperink - Catherine Cookson Bio. 27 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Fiction