Barbara Taylor Bradford
Barbara Taylor Bradford, OBE (born 10 May 1933) is a best-selling English novelist. Her debut novel, A Woman of Substance, was published in 1979 and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. It ranks as one of the top-ten bestselling novels of all-time. To date, she has written 27 novels — all bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic. Her 27th, Letter From A Stranger was released in the UK in September 2011, and in North America in April 2012.  Her current novel, Secrets From The Past was published on 28 February 2013 in the UK, and will be released on 9 April in North America.
Bradford was born in Leeds, England, where she grew up in the Leeds suburb of Upper Armley. She was the only child of Freda and Winston Taylor, and it was her mother who instilled in her the love of books and reading. Barbara attended the Christ Church, C of E School (where she was in the same class as Alan Bennett) and Northcote School for Girls. Determined to become a writer, Bradford went to work at the Yorkshire Evening Post when she was sixteen. After a few months as a typist she was moved to the news room, where she became a junior reporter. Several years later she was made women’s page editor. In London, she was the fashion editor of Woman's Own Magazine, then became a feature writer on the London Evening News. After a number of years in journalism, Barbara wrote A Woman of Substance and became a full-time novelist.
Her first novel, A Woman of Substance, became an enduring best-seller and according to Reuters, it ranks as one of the top-ten best-selling novels of all time. A Woman Of Substance has been followed by 27 others – all best-sellers on both sides of the Atlantic. Bradford's books have sold more than 89 million copies worldwide in more than 90 countries and 40 languages. Ten of her books have been made into television mini-series and television movies, produced by her husband, Robert Bradford.
Currently one of the richest living authors, Bradford's personal wealth has exceeded £145 million, making her one of the wealthiest women in the UK. The 2009 Sunday Times Rich List estimated her wealth at around £166 million, making her the 31st wealthiest woman in Britain.
Recurring Plotlines and Common Themes
Some of Bradford's novels follow a common pattern. A young woman of humble background rises in business through years of hard work, often involving enormous self-sacrifice. Occasionally an older man enters the picture as a mentor or a husband, though the relationship is rarely a passionate one. Love and marriage generally play little or no role until the heroine is a powerful, established and a wealthy figure in her chosen field. The regrets and second chances of post-forty life for successful women provide some of her thematic issues.
Bradford has denied that her heroines fit the common stereotype of the sexually voracious and predatory Cougar. But she suggests throughout her work that powerful, successful women are entitled to the companionship of younger men. Her tales of May-December romance dramatically illustrate the point that an older woman is often more than a match for a vigorous and athletic younger man. Bradford's heroines seldom cling, and are never ruled by emotion.
As powerful, successful women in the modern world, Bradford's heroines are not bound by conventional gender roles. They often pursue younger men aggressively, and marry younger husbands whom they support lavishly and who may or may not take a subordinate role in the relationship.
Bradford lives in New York City with television producer Robert Bradford, her husband since December 1963.
In 1999, Bradford became the first living female author to be featured on a postage stamp, when she was honoured on legal tender by the nations of St. Vincent and Grenada. In 2002, she was again recognised with a postage stamp by the British Isle of Man. In April 2003, Mrs Bradford was inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America. She was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours list for her contributions to literature. Her original manuscripts are archived at the Brotherton Library at Leeds University, alongside the works of the Brontë sisters.
Bradford is a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. She is heavily involved in a variety of charity projects around the world including Literacy Partners, the Police Athletic League of New York City (PAL); PACT Parents and Abducted Children Together US and UK Chapters; and The New York Pops Orchestra.
Five of her television adaptations were re-released on DVD in the UK in September 2008 by Acorn Media UK. These are A Woman of Substance; Hold The Dream; To Be The Best; Act of Will and Voice of the Heart. A Woman Of Substance, Hold The Dream and To Be The Best were reissued on DVD by Acorn Media in the US in May of 2012.
Novels by Barbara Taylor Bradford
The Emma Harte Saga
- A Woman of Substance (1979)
- Hold the Dream (1985)
- To Be The Best (1988)
- Emma's Secret (2003)
- Unexpected Blessings (2005)
- Just Rewards (2005)
- Breaking The Rules (13 October 2009)
The Ravenscar Trilogy
- The Ravenscar Dynasty (2006)
- Heirs Of Ravenscar (UK) (2007) (The Heir in North America)
- Being Elizabeth (2008)
- Act of Will (1986)
- The Woman in His Life (1990)
- Remember (1991)
- Angel (1993)
- Voice of the Heart (1983)
- Everything to Gain (1994)
- Dangerous to Know (1995)
- Love in Another Town (1995)
- Her Own Rules (1996)
- A Secret Affair (1996)
- Power of a Woman (1997)
- A Sudden Change of Heart (1999)
- Where you Belong (2000)
- The Triumph of Katie Byrne (2001)
- Three Weeks in Paris (February 2002)
- Playing The Game (3 October 2010)
- Letter From A Stranger (15 September 2011)
- Secrets From The Past (28 February 2013)
- Bradford's Living Romantically Every Day 2 October 2002
- Children's Stories of the Bible from the Old and New Testaments Deluxe 1988
- Luxury Designs for Apartment Living 1983
- Making Space Grow 1979
- How to Solve Your Decorating Problems 1976
- Easy Steps to Successful Decorating (Illustrated) 1971
- Etiquette to Please Him (How to be the Perfect Wife Series) 1969
- Children's Stories of the Bible from the old and new testments 1968
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Homemaking Ideas 1968
- Children's Stories of Jesus From the New Testament 1966
- Children's stories of the Bible from the Old Testament"" 1966
- A Garland of Children's Verse 1960
- The Dictionary of 1001 Famous People: Outstanding Personages in the World of Science, the Arts, Music And Literature with Samuel Nisenson"" 1966
- Official website
- Official UK website
- Barbara Taylor Bradford at the Internet Book List
- Interview with Barbara Taylor Bradford on Veronika Asks
- Official website of PACT, a charity which Barbara Taylor Bradford is on the board of