19 February 1958 |
Morley, West Yorkshire, England
|Alma mater||St Anne's College, Oxford|
|Notable work(s)||Bridget Jones's Diary|
|Partner(s)||Kevin Curran (1999-2009)|
Helen Fielding is an English novelist and screenwriter, best known as the creator of the fictional character Bridget Jones, a sequence of novels and films that chronicle the life of a thirtysomething singleton in London as she tries to make sense of life and love.
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason have been published in forty countries and sold more than 15 million copies. The two films of the same name have achieved worldwide success. Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century, in a survey conducted by The Guardian newspaper.
Fielding (born 19 February 1958) grew up in Morley, West Yorkshire, a textile town on the outskirts of Leeds in the north of England. She lived next to a factory that made the fabric for miners’ donkey jackets, where her father was managing director. He died in 1982 and her mother, Nellie, still lives in Yorkshire. Fielding attended Wakefield Girls High School and has three siblings, Jane, David and Richard. She studied English at St Anne's College, Oxford and was part of the Oxford revue at the 1978 Edinburgh Festival, forming a continuing friendship with a group of comic performers and writers including Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson.
Fielding began work at the BBC in 1979 as a regional researcher on the news magazine Nationwide. She progressed to working as a production manager on various children’s and light entertainment shows. In 1985 Fielding produced a live satellite broadcast from a refugee camp in Eastern Sudan for the launch of Comic Relief. She also wrote and produced documentaries in Africa for the first two Comic Relief fundraising broadcasts. In 1989 she was a researcher on the Thames TV documentary “Where Hunger is a Weapon” about the Southern Sudan rebel war. These experiences formed the basis for her first novel, Cause Celeb.
From 1990 - 1999 she worked as a journalist and columnist on several national newspapers, including The Sunday Times, The Independent and The Telegraph. Her best-known work, Bridget Jones's Diary, began its life as an anonymous column in The Independent in 1995. The success of the column led to two novels and their film adaptations. Fielding was part of the scriptwriting team for both.
Fielding divides her time between London and Los Angeles. She and Kevin Curran, a writer/executive producer on The Simpsons, began a relationship about 1999 and Fielding has two children by him: Dashiell, born in February 2004, and Romy born in July 2006. However, she and Curran broke up in 2009.
Fielding’s first novel, Cause Celeb, was published in 1994 to great reviews but limited sales. She was struggling to make ends meet while working on her second novel, a satire about cultural divides in the Caribbean when she was approached by London’s The Independent newspaper to write a column as herself about single life in London. Fielding rejected this idea as too embarrassing and exposing and offered instead to create an imaginary, exaggerated, comic character. Writing anonymously, she felt freed up to be honest about the preoccupations of single girls in their thirties. It quickly acquired a following, her identity was revealed and her publishers asked her to replace her novel about the Caribbean by a novel on Bridget Jones’s Diary. The hardback was published in 1996 to good reviews but modest sales. Word of mouth spread, however, and the paperback, published in 1997, went straight to the top of the best-seller chart, stayed there for over six months and went on to become a worldwide best-seller. The diary - starting each day with its signature list of calories, alcohol and cigarette intake, is credited[who?] with spawning a new confessional literary genre in the form of Chick Lit.
Fielding continued her columns in The Independent, and then The Daily Telegraph until 1997, publishing a second Bridget novel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in November 1999. The film of Bridget Jones’s Diary was released in 2000 and the film of the sequel in 2004. In 2005 Fielding began the further adventures of Bridget Jones in The Independent. On 9 November 2012, it was announced by Fielding on BBC Radio Four that she is currently writing the third Bridget Jones novel, set in present day London.
Fielding credits Bridget’s success to the fact that it is about more than just single life, but “the gap between how we feel we are expected to be and how we actually are” which she has described as an alarming symptom of the media age.
- Cause Celeb (1994) is a satire, based on the relationship between celebrities and refugees set in a camp in a fictional country in East Africa.
- Bridget Jones's Diary (1996)
- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1999)
- Olivia Joules and The Overactive Imagination (2003) a comic spy novel set in Miami, Los Angeles, England and the Sudan .
- Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (2013)
- Short stories
- Ox-tales (2009) a collection of short stories in aid of Oxfam
- Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth. Written by Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding. Directed by Sharon Maguire. Produced by Working Title Films.
- The Edge of Reason (2004), Starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth. Written by Adam Brooks, Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding. Directed by Beeban Kidron. Produced by Working Title Films.
Awards and nominations
- 1997 British Book of the Year
- 2002 Writers Guild of America nomination Best Screenplay
- 2002 BAFTA nomination Best Screenplay
- 2002 Evening Standard Award Best Screenplay.
- "Helen Fielding: Beyond Bridget". The Independent (London). 5 October 2003. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- Crown, Sarah (2 June 2007). "1984 'Is Definitive Book Of The 20Th Century'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Helen Fielding begins Edge of Reason follow-up". BBC News. Retrieved 12 November 2012
- "Helen Fielding to write new Bridget Jones novel". Telegraph. Retrieved 12 November 2012
- Jack Boozer (2008) Authorship in film adaptation p.286. University of Texas Press, 2008
- "Bridget Jones Author Fielding a 'singleton'". FemaleFirst. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- Ox-tales on the Oxfam website, retrieved December 2009