Helen Fielding

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Helen Fielding
Born (1958-02-19) 19 February 1958 (age 66)
Morley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
OccupationJournalist, novelist, screenwriter
EducationSt Anne's College, Oxford
PartnerKevin Curran[1] (died 2016)

Helen Fielding[2] (born 19 February 1958)[3] is British journalist, novelist and screenwriter, best known as the creator of the fictional character Bridget Jones. Fielding’s first novel was set in a refugee camp in East Africa and she started writing Bridget Jones in an anonymous column in London’s Independent newspaper. This turned into an unexpected hit, leading to four Bridget Jones novels, three movies, with a fourth movie announced in April 2024 for release in 2025.

Fielding credits the success of Bridget Jones to tapping into the gap between how we all feel we are expected to be and how we really are.[4]

Fielding’s novel Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) became a  surprise global bestseller, published in over 40 countries. Fielding continued to chronicle Bridget’s life  in the novels Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1999), Bridget Jones’s Baby: the Diaries (2017) and Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (2013) all of which became international bestsellers selling over twenty million copies worldwide.[5] In a survey conducted by The Guardian newspaper, Bridget Jones's Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century.[6] In 2024 the New York Times named Bridget Jones’s Diary  as one of the twenty two funniest novels since Catch 22.[7]

The movies chronicling these adventures: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones’s Baby took over three quarters of a billion in box office, with the most recent opening, Bridget Jones’s Baby breaking UK box office records.[8]

Fielding’s novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (2013), explored Bridget’s life as a widowed mother to two small children and her attempts to re-enter the dating scene. It occupied the number one spot on the Sunday Times bestseller list for six months. In her review for the New York Times, Sarah Lyall called the novel “sharp and humorous” and said that Fielding had “allowed her heroine to grow up into someone funnier and more interesting than she was before.” The movie “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” announced for release in 2025 will see Renee Zellweger reprising her role as Bridget Jones for the fourth time. The movie will be based on Fielding’s novel and original screenplay, further developed by a team including writers Dan Mazer and Abi Morgan. [9]

In a 2004 poll for the BBC, Fielding was named the 29th most influential person in British culture. In December 2016, the BBC's Woman's Hour included Bridget Jones as one of the seven women who had most influenced British female culture over the last seven decades.[10]Bridget was the only woman included who was not actually a real-life person.


Fielding grew up in Morley, West Yorkshire, a textile town on the outskirts of Leeds in the north of England. Her father was managing director of a textile factory, next door to the family home, that produced cloth for miners' donkey jackets. He died in 1982 and her mother, Nellie, remained in Yorkshire, dying in 2021.[11]

Fielding attended Wakefield Girls' High School, one of the Grammar Schools in the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation. She has three siblings.

Fielding 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.[12]

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 for an edition of the Thames TV This Week series "Where Hunger is a Weapon" about the Southern Sudan rebel war. These experiences formed the basis for her debut 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 unattributed column in The Independent in 1995. The success of the column led to four novels and three film adaptations. Fielding was part of the scriptwriting team for all three.

Bridget Jones[edit]

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[13] and exposing and offered instead to create an imaginary, exaggerated, comic character.

Writing anonymously, she felt able to be honest about the preoccupations of single women in their thirties. The column 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. 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.[14]

Fielding continued her columns in The Independent, and then The Daily Telegraph until 1997, publishing a second Bridget novel The Edge of Reason in November 1999. The film of Bridget Jones's Diary was released in 2001 and its sequel in 2004. Fielding contributed the further adventures of Bridget Jones for The Independent from 2005. Fielding announced in November 2012 that she was now writing a third instalment in the Bridget Jones series.[15][16]

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was published in the UK by Jonathan Cape and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2013. It debuted at number one on The Sunday Times bestseller list, and number seven on The New York Times bestseller list. By the time the UK paperback was published on 19 June 2014, sales had reached one million copies. The novel was shortlisted for the 15th Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize,[17] nominated in the Popular Fiction category of the National Book Award.[18] and has been translated into 32 languages.

Personal life[edit]

Fielding lives in London and also spends time in Los Angeles. She and Kevin Curran, a writer/executive producer on The Simpsons, began a relationship in 2000 and had two children. Curran died from cancer complications on 26 October 2016.[19]

She is an Ambassador for the Yorkshire Chidren’s Charity[20] and a longtime supporter of Save the Children.[21] OxTales, her collection of short stories was published in aid of Oxfam in 2009


In 2014, Fielding was one of twenty writers on The Sunday Times list of Britain's 500 Most Influential[22] and was also featured on the London Evening Standard's 1,000 Most Influential Londoners list.[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]


Short stories
  • Ox-tales (2009) a collection of short stories in aid of Oxfam[24]

Film adaptations[edit]


  1. ^ "The Simpsons writer Kevin Curran dies aged 59". BBC News. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Helen Fielding - National Portrait Gallery". www.npg.org.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Helen Fielding | Producer, Writer, Actress". IMDb. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  4. ^ "Helen Fielding: Quotes, Biography, Bridget Jones, Bibliography, Movies, Awards and Nominations, and a List of Books by Author Helen Fielding". www.paperbackswap.com. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Review: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding - The Literary Edit". thelitedit.com. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  6. ^ Groskop, Viv (1 June 2013). "Bridget Jones: older, yes, but still mad about the boys". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  7. ^ Garner, Dwight; Jacobs, Alexandra; Szalai, Jennifer; Yacht, Cari Vander (14 March 2024). "22 of the Funniest Novels Since 'Catch-22'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  8. ^ Gant, Charles (27 September 2016). "Bridget Jones's Baby still the daddy in UK as Finding Dory hits motherlode". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  9. ^ Stephan, Katcy (9 April 2024). "Renee Zellweger to Return for 'Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy' With Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson". Variety. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  10. ^ "Radio 4's Woman's Hour Power List 2016 revealed". BBC. 19 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Helen Fielding | Biography, Books and Facts". www.famousauthors.org. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  12. ^ Jack Boozer (2008) Authorship in film adaptation p.286. University of Texas Press, 2008
  13. ^ "Independent Columns 1995". bridgetarchive.altervista.org. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Helen Fielding: Quotes, Biography, Bridget Jones, Bibliography, Movies, Awards and Nominations, and a List of Books by Author Helen Fielding". www.paperbackswap.com. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  15. ^ "Helen Fielding begins Edge of Reason follow-up". BBC News. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  16. ^ Capon, Felicity (9 November 2012). "Helen Fielding to write new Bridget Jones novel". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  17. ^ "Bridget Jones on Wodehouse Prize shortlist". The Bookseller. Retrieved 14 November 2014
  18. ^ "Bridget Jones up for National Book Awards". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2014
  19. ^ Roshanian, Arya (25 October 2016). "Kevin Curran, Emmy Winner and Longtime 'Simpsons' Writer, Dies at 59". Variety. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  20. ^ "Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding becomes Ambassador for Yorkshire Children's Charity – Yorkshire Children's Charity". 27 February 2024. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  21. ^ "Helen Fielding - Celebrity Supporter | Save the Children UK". www.savethechildren.org.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  22. ^ "Britain's 500 Most Influential. The Sunday Times. Retrieved 19 November 2014
  23. ^ "The 1000 – London's most influential people 2014: The Arts". Evening Standard. London. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  24. ^ Ox-tales Archived 20 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine on the Oxfam website, retrieved December 2009

External links[edit]