Features Ed Blog: Remembering Catherine Cookson

ANL/Shutterstock © remembering catherine cookson

Our current on-sale Special (#220) has a lovely featuring remembering Catherine Cookson, by Dianne Boardman.

I touched on it briefly during our Facebook roundup of the Special last Friday. Catherine was a major tourist pull to the north-east of England for years.

In fact, for decades. During the 60s, 70s and 80s, brown tourist signs would point the way to places of interest from her life and her stories. But the world moved on, and although many of us fondly remember her genius, she’s not the big draw she once was.

Catherine was born in South Tyneside. She moved down to Surrey, and eventually ran a boarding house.

There she met her husband, who was a schoolmaster. Catherine took up writing on medical advice whilst suffering issues with her physical and mental health, and by 42 had written her first book.

remembering catherine cookson

Photo by Stuart Forster/Shutterstock. Sunset over the Port of Tyne in North Shields, England.

Coming Home

Catherine came back to the north-east with her husband, and continued to write.

She earned numerous literary awards, and became a Dame in 1993. She passed away at her Newcastle home in 1998.

We know a lot of our readers will have read her work, or will have had family members who were fans.

To tell her life story once again is something of an honour, but in the feature Dianne is delighted to discover there are folks in her home area who keep her story alive. The South Shields Museum even has some of her artwork, as she painted through much of her life.

The Next Special

Our Marion, who commissioned this delightful piece, is also behind a piece in our next Special on forgotten female authors. Also written by Dianne!

It’s out on February 9, and tells of folk from Zora Neale Hurston to our very own Annie S. Swan. Some have just been lost in time, while others have suffered the ebb and flow of fashion.

Perhaps they write about situations we no longer identify with, or maybe the writers that they influenced overtook them in stature – as is the case with Fanny Burney and Jane Austen.

So, I hope you enjoy the Catherine Cookson article, and if you enjoyed that then there’s something to look forward to in the next Special!

Which writers do you remember that the world seems to have forgotten? Do let us know through the usual ways and means!

Find out more about Dame Catherine Cookson at South Shields Museum.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.