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Last Updated: Friday, 13 February, 2004, 13:24 GMT
Cookson loses library No 1 spot
Jacqueline Wilson and actress Danielle Harmer who plays Tracy Beaker
Jacqueline Wilson (left) began writing on magazines
Dame Catherine Cookson has lost her title as the UK's most borrowed author after 17 years at the top of the library lending charts.

She was supplanted by children's writer Jacqueline Wilson, whose works include The Illustrated Mum and The Story of Tracy Beaker.

The 58-year-old clocked up more than two million loans last year, according to the Public Lending Right.

Dame Catherine, who died in 1998 aged 91, slipped to fourth place.

Wilson told BBC Breakfast she was pleased with her number one spot.

Bookworm

"It feels very weird, I'm very happy about it," she said.

"When I was a child, I was in and out of the local library practically every day, so it's lovely to know children still enjoy going to libraries and borrowing books.

"My thanks go to the public library service and librarians everywhere who work so hard to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy books and reading," she added.

Of the 20 most-borrowed book at libraries, 16 were written by Wilson.

Wilson has sold more than 12 million books in the UK alone and about 30 million books worldwide.

The Story of Tracy Beaker, about a 12-year-old girl in care, has been made into a successful BBC television series.

Wilson says she replies to every letter written to her by young people and has received many letters from children in care who have read the book.

"It feels wonderful if somebody who's actually experienced what I'm writing about feels that I've got it right," she said.

Ms Wilson began her writing career on teenage girls' magazine Jackie, which was named after her.

Danielle Steel was the second most borrowed author, followed by romantic fiction writer Josephine Cox.

"Having an eminent children's author such as Jacqueline Wilson at number one surely reflects the passion of young readers and the vibrancy of the public library service for an emerging generation, " said Dr Jim Parker, registrar of the Public Lending Right, which compiles the library lending charts.

The organisation distributes funds to authors whose books are borrowed by library users.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's David Sillito
"Last year Jacqueline Wilson's books were lent out more than two million times"



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