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Long was born in 1964 and raised in Blackrod, Bolton and was educated at Bolton School. At 18 she left home to study English at Bristol University, where she gained a First, and then trained as a teacher in Exmouth for a year. Her first job was in Guildford, where she met her husband Simon. For over a decade Kate taught at Abbey Gate College, a secondary school just outside Chester. When her first novel, The Bad Mother's Handbook was accepted, in 2003, she left teaching and became a full-time writer.
The Bad Mother's Handbook was published by Picador in 2004 and became a number one bestseller, serialized on BBC Radio Four's Book at Bedtime and nominated for a British Book Award. The film rights were bought by Ruby Films and ITV showed the TV version in February 2007 which starred Catherine Tate. Since then she has written seven other novels: 'Swallowing Grandma', 'Queen Mum', 'The Daughter Game', 'Mothers and Daughters' (first published as 'A Mother's Guide to Cheating'), 'Before She Was Mine' and 'Bad Mothers United' which is the sequel to 'The Bad Mother's Handbook'. Her new novel, 'Something Only We Know', will be out in August 2015.
As well as novels, Kate Long has had short stories published in Woman's Own, Woman & Home, the Sunday Express magazine and the Sunday Night Book Club anthology. She describes herself as being inspired by family stories, and by power shifts in relationships, as well as how people form personal identities. Other favorite themes are class, disability, adoption, homosexuality, and the power of the maternal bond in all its forms, healthy or otherwise.
- "Kate Long: A handbook for success". independent.co.uk. 14 March 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- "Blackrod author Kate Long on how Bad Mother made her a better mum". lancashirelife.co.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- "Author Kate Long: 'there's nothing like a Lancashire dialect'". theboltonnews.co.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2016.