Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Thursday, 26 May 2005 14:51 UK

Wilson's gripping social tales

Jacqueline Wilson and actress Danielle Harmer
Jacqueline Wilson (left) began writing on magazines

BBC news profiles writer Jacqueline Wilson, who is the new Children's Laureate.

Jacqueline Wilson knew she wanted to write from the tender age of six but it was a "secret ambition" as she never imagined her books would be published.

She wrote her first book aged nine and enrolled in secretarial college when she left school.

The budding novelist soon grew restless and applied for a job as a journalist at DC Thompson, publisher of comics

such as The Beano and Dandy.

Her first job was on teenage magazine Jackie which was named after her.

Dedicated

She soon went on to become a full-time writer and has written over 70 books since then, including several crime novels for adults in the 1970s.

She was born on 17 December 1945 in Bath but grew up in Kingston.

Her children's novels include The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Suitcase Kid, The Bed and Breakfast Star, Double Act, Bad Girls, The Lottie Project, Girls in Love, Vicky Angel, The Illustrated Mum, The Dare Game and Dustbin Baby.

She has sold 30 million books worldwide and still finds the time to reply to every child who writes to her, even if it is just a postcard.

"It is very touching and a great privilege," she says of the young people who write letters to her.

Double Act
Double Act was made into a Channel 4 series

Her name may not be as famous as JK Rowling but she is hugely popular - her books are "growers" and tend to sell through children's word of mouth.

And unlike Rowling, Wilson's books are far from fantasy, often dealing with gritty social subjects including divorce, bereavement and children in care.

Wilson has won many awards, including the Smarties Prize, and the Children's Book Award.

The Story of Tracy Beaker won the 2002 Blue Peter People's Choice Award and The Illustrated Mum won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the 1999 Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards.

Collector

The Story of Tracy Beaker has been made into a successful BBC children's series and Channel 4's dramatisation of Double Act scooped the prestigious Royal Television Society Best Children's Fiction Award.

Four of her books appeared in the top 100 of the BBC poll, The Big Read - Double Act, Girls in Love, Vicky Angel and The Story of Tracy Beaker.

In June 2002 Wilson was given an OBE for services to literacy in schools.

She is delighted to be the most borrowed author in British libraries, having been an avid bookworm as a child herself.

"It's lovely to know children still enjoy going to libraries and borrowing books, " she said.

Wilson is still an avid reader and has a collection of about 15,000 books crammed into her house in Kingston upon Thames.

She manages to read about a book a week despite her hectic schedule and her favourite all-time children's book is Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.



SEE ALSO
Cookson loses library No 1 spot
13 Feb 04 |  Entertainment
Big Read Top 100
17 May 03 |  Entertainment
Library borrowing drops again
05 Feb 04 |  Scotland

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