Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, who Catherine believed was her older sister. Catherine began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married Tom Cookson, a local grammar-school master.
Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer – her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award for the best regional novel of 1968 – her readership quickly spread throughout the world, and her many best-selling novels established her as one of the most popular contemporary woman novelist. She received an OBE in 1985, was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993, and was appointed an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, in 1997.
1. Philippa Carr
Eleanor Alice Burford, Mrs. George Percival Hibbert was a British author of about 200 historical novels, most of them under the pen name Jean Plaidy which had sold 14 million copies by the time of her death. She chose to use various names because of the differences in subject matter between her books; the best-known, apart from Plaidy, are Victoria Holt (56 million) and Philippa Carr (3 million). Lesser known were the novels Hibbert published under her maiden name Eleanor Burford, or the pseudonyms of Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow, Anna Percival and Ellalice Tate. Many of her readers under one penname never suspected her other identities.
2. Jane Austen
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry.She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers, as well as through her own reading.
she experimented with various literary forms (including the epistolary novel, which she then abandoned), wrote and extensively revised three major novels, and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the publication of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Though fundamentally comic, her plots highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
3. Lenora Mattingly Weber
Weber’s first book, Wind on the Prairie, was published in 1929. From 1930 through 1962 she wrote short stories for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s, and Good Housekeeping. Her last book was published posthumously in 1972.
Lenora Mattingly Weber’s favorite topics included the Denver area, horses, and teenage girls. In 1943 the first Beany Malone book, Meet the Malones, was published. Beany Malone became Weber’s most well-known creation, featured in 14 books and appearing as a minor character in the Katie Rose Belford and Stacy Belford series.
4.Emilie Baker Loring
Emilie Loring was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1864 to George M. Baker and Emily Frances (Boles) Baker. Her father was a playwright and publisher and her mother was a homemaker. Loring married Victor J. Loring, who was a lawyer. She died in Wellesley, Massachusetts on March 13, 1951. At the time of her death, Loring had sold more than a million copies of her first thirty books.
Loring was a prolific American romance novelist of the 20th century, known for her “wholesome love” romances and independent, spirited heroines. Beyond romance, her books also explore a selection of topics including, but not limited to marriage, love, American patriotism, freedom, and optimism.
She began writing in 1914 at the age of 50 and continued until her death after a long illness in 1951. After her death, her estate was managed by her sons, Selden M. and Robert M. Loring, who, based on a wealth of unfinished material they discovered, published twenty more books under her name until 1972. These books were ghost-written by Elinore Denniston.
5. Jacqueline Briskin
Jacqueline Briskin (1927-2014) was the New York Times-bestselling author of fourteen historical novels that reflect the tumultuous changes in American society that she witnessed over her lifetime. Complete with dynamic storylines, vibrant characters, and passionate romantic relationships, her novels have sold more than twenty million copies worldwide and have been translated into twenty-six languages.
Briskin was born in London, England, the granddaughter of the chief rabbi of Dublin, Ireland. Her family moved to Beverly Hills, California, to escape Adolf Hitler and religious orthodoxy. A few years later, she married her best friend and the love of her life, Bert, whose family was deeply embedded in Hollywood and the movie business. When Briskin’s three children were little more than toddlers, she attended a class at UCLA entitled “The Craft of Fiction.” To her surprise, it was a class about writing fiction rather than reading fiction. And so her career began.
Over the next forty years, many of Briskin’s books topped the New York Times bestseller list. Her adoptive home of Los Angeles and her husband’s old stomping ground of Hollywood often play a prominent role in her meticulously researched books.
6. Maureen Lee
Maureen Lee was born in Bootle, England, UK, near Liverpool during the World War II. She attended Commercial College and became a shorthand typist. She married Richard, and they had three sons, now adults. The last years the marriage lives in Colchester, Essex.
During years, she published over one hundred and fifty short-stories, before published her first novel Lila in 1983. She continued published dramatic historical sagas mainly setting in Liverpool since 1994. In 2000, her novel Dancing in the Dark won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
7. Lucía Etxebarria
Lucía Etxebarria de Asteinza is a Spanish writer. She was born in Valencia in 1966, of Basque parents as her name suggests, the youngest of seven children. The Basque surname Etxebarria has no diacritics, although its Spanish version Echevarría has. Etxebarría was a typo that she liked and adopted as a nom de plume, though it is not used in all her books.
Her first book was Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s biography: La historia de Kurt y Courtney: aguanta esto (1996). Her first novel, Amor, curiosidad, prozac y dudas (1997) received Ana María Matute’s support, and situated her in the Generacion Kronen scope. The following year her second novel, Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes, won the Nadal prize.
With De todo lo visible y lo invisible (2001) she won the Primavera Prize. With Un milagro en equilibrio, she obtained the 53rd Planeta Prize in 2004. In addition to these books and many other titles she has published poetry; her collection Actos de placer y amor won the Barcarola Poetry Prize in 2004. She has published two collections of feminist essays, and has also worked as a scriptwriter.
In 2011, Etxebarria said she would stop writing, claiming that digital piracy of her books had made writing not worth the effort.
8. Annie Murray
Annie Murray was a ‘childhood writer.’ Her career was helped a great deal by belonging to Tindal Street Fiction Group in Birmingham and by winning the SHE/Granada TV Short Story Competition in 1991. She has published short stories in a number of anthologies as well as SHE magazine. Her first regional saga, Birmingham Rose appeared in 1995 and reached the Times bestseller list. She has since published more than a dozen others, including the ‘Cadbury books,’ Chocolate Girls and The Bells of Bournville Green, Family of Women and her latest, A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.
9. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles was born on 13 August 1948 in Shepherd’s Bush, London, England, where was educated at Burlington School, a girls’ charity school founded in 1699, and at the University of Edinburgh and University College London, where she studied English, history and philosophy.
She had a variety of jobs in the commercial world, starting as a junior cashier at Woolworth’s and working her way down to Pensions Officer at the BBC.
She wrote her first novel while at university and in 1972 won the Young Writers’ Award with The Waiting Game. The birth of the MORLAND DYNASTY series enabled Cynthia Harrod-Eagles to become a full-time writer in 1979. The series was originally intended to comprise twelve volumes, but it has proved so popular that it has now been extended to thirty-four.
In 1993 she won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel of the Year Award with Emily, the third volume of her Kirov Saga, a trilogy set in nineteenth century Russia.