Wilson in 2009
17 December 1945
Bath, Somerset, England
|Genre||Realist children's novels|
Guardian Prize |
British Book Award
(m. 1965; div. 2004)
Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE, FRSL (née Aitken; born 17 December 1945) is an English novelist who writes for children's literature. As her children's novels frequently feature themes of adoption, divorce, and mental illness, they attract controversy. Four of her books appear in the BBC's The Big Read poll of the 100 most popular books in the UK. For her lifetime contribution as a children's writer, Wilson was a UK nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014. Wilson is the author of many book series. Her Tracy Beaker series, inaugurated in 1991 with The Story of Tracy Beaker, includes three sequels and has been adapted into four CBBC television series: The Story of Tracy Beaker, Tracy Beaker Returns, The Dumping Ground, and The Tracy Beaker Survival Files. She has written more than a hundred books over the course of her career.
Life and career
Jacqueline Aitken was born in Bath, Somerset, England in 1945. Her father was a civil servant; her mother was an antiques dealer. Jacqueline spent most of her childhood in Kingston upon Thames, where she went to Latchmere Primary School. She particularly enjoyed books by Noel Streatfeild, as well as American classics like Little Women and What Katy Did. At the age of seven, she filled Woolworths notebooks with stories of her imaginary games. At the age of nine she wrote her first "novel" which was 21 sides long. That story, Meet the Maggots, was about a family with seven children. Although she was good at English, she had no interest in mathematics; she would often stare out of the window and imagine rather than pay attention to the class, leading her final-year teacher at Latchmere to nickname her "Jacky Daydream". Jacqueline Wilson later used the nickname as the title of the first stage of her autobiography.
After Latchmere, she attended Coombe Girls' School, which she still visits regularly. A lecture hall at Kingston University's Penrhyn Road campus has been named after her. After leaving school at age 16, she began training as a secretary but then applied to work with the Dundee-based publishing company DC Thomson on a new girls' magazine, Jackie. DC Thomson offered the 17-year-old a job after she penned a piece on the horrors of teen discos. She fell in love with a printer named Millar Wilson. When he joined the police force, the couple moved south for his work, marrying in 1965 when Wilson was 19. Two years later, they had a daughter, Emma. They divorced in 2004.
When Wilson focused on writing, she completed a few crime fiction novels before dedicating herself to children's books. At the age of 40, she took A-level English and earned a grade A. She had mixed success with about 40 books before the breakthrough to fame in 1991 with The Story of Tracy Beaker, published by Doubleday.
Two decades later, Wilson lives in a Victorian villa in Kingston upon Thames. It is filled with books; her library of some 15,000 books extends into the outbuilding at the bottom of her garden. She remains a keen reader, completing a book a week despite her hectic schedule. Her favourite writers for adults include Katherine Mansfield and Sylvia Plath. She also surrounds herself with old-fashioned childhood objects such as a rocking horse and antique dolls, and has a unique taste in clothes and jewellery, being known for wearing black clothes and an array of large rings.
Wilson is patron of the charity Momentum in Kingston upon Thames, which helps Surrey children undergoing treatment for cancer (and their families), and she is also patron of The Friends of Richmond Park. Wilson is also a patron of the Letterbox Club, a BookTrust initiative.
In June 2013, Wilson was appointed professorial fellow of the University of Roehampton, where she is now a Pro-Chancellor. She teaches modules in both the Children's Literature and Creative Writing master's degree (MA) programmes offered by the university. In February 2014 it was announced that she would be appointed chancellor of the university from August 2014. She was reappointed in 2017 for a further three years.
In The Big Read, a 2003 poll conducted by the BBC, four of Wilson's books were ranked among the 100 most popular books in the UK: Double Act, Girls In Love, Vicky Angel, and The Story of Tracy Beaker. Fourteen books by Wilson ranked in the top 200. In 2002 she replaced Catherine Cookson as the most borrowed author in Britain's libraries, a position she retained until being overtaken by James Patterson in 2008.
Awards, honours and achievements
Wilson has won many awards including the Smarties Prize and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. The Illustrated Mum (1999) won the annual Guardian Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers, and the annual British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year; it also made the 1999 Whitbread Awards shortlist. The Story of Tracy Beaker won the 2002 Blue Peter People's Choice Award.[clarification needed] Girls in Tears was the Children's Book of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.
In June 2002, Wilson was appointed an OBE for services to literacy in schools and from 2005 to 2007 she served as the fourth Children's Laureate. In that role Wilson urged parents and child-care providers to continue reading aloud to children long after they are able to read for themselves. She also campaigned to make more books available for blind people and campaigned against cutbacks in children's TV drama.
In October 2005 she received an honorary degree from the University of Winchester in recognition of her achievements in and on behalf of children's literature. In July 2007 the University of Roehampton awarded her an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Letters) in recognition of her achievements in and on behalf of children's literature. She has also received honorary degrees from the University of Dundee, the University of Bath and Kingston University.
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A dramatisation of Wilson's Double Act, written and directed by Vicky Ireland, was first performed at The Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, London from 30 January to 12 April 2003, and toured throughout the UK. The playscript was published by Collins Plays Plus. Ireland has also written dramatisations of The Lottie Project (performed at Polka Theatre and San Pol Theatre, Madrid), Midnight, Bad Girls and Secrets, which were also commissioned by the Polka Theatre, and a dramatisation of The Suitcase Kid which was performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond and later toured throughout the UK. The scripts for these plays were published by Nick Hern Books.
The following books by Wilson have been adapted for TV:
- Cliffhanger (1995, Channel 4). Part of Look, See and Read, two-part drama.
- Double Act (2002, Channel 4). Starring twins Zoe and Chloe Tempest-Jones as Ruby and Garnet, with a special appearance by Jacqueline Wilson as the casting director at the auditions. This was a one-off 100-minute feature.
- The Story of Tracy Beaker (2002–2005, CBBC). Starring Dani Harmer as Tracy and Lisa Coleman (whose sister, Charlotte, appeared in Double Act as Miss Debenham) as Cam. Original broadcast dates: 8 January 2002 – 18 December 2005.
- The Illustrated Mum (2003, Channel 4). Starring former EastEnders star Michelle Collins as Marigold Westward, who won a BAFTA Award for her role, and who went on to play Stella Price in Coronation Street, Alice Connor as Dolphin Westward and Holly Grainger as Star Westward. This was a four-part mini-series but later shown as a full feature with no ad breaks. It was again repeated at Christmas 2004. Original broadcast date: 5 December 2003.
- Best Friends (2004, ITV). This was a six-part miniseries, but was originally broadcast as one feature with a slightly different ending. It starred Chloe Smyth as Gemma and Poppy Rogers as Alice. Original broadcast date: 3 December 2004. This was repeated on the CITV Channel on 6 March 2010.
- Girls in Love (ITV). Starring Olivia Hallinan as Ellie, Zaraah Abrahams as Magda and Amy Kwolek as Nadine. There have been two series of Girls in Love broadcast. Original broadcast dates: 1 April 2003 – 18 April 2005.
- Dustbin Baby (BBC). Featuring an A-list cast including Juliet Stevenson as Marion, David Haig as a new character, Elliot, and Dakota Blue Richards as April. Original broadcast date: 21 December 2008.
- Tracy Beaker Returns (2010–2012). This is a series in which Tracy (Dani Harmer) returns to the "Dumping Ground" (Stowey House, whose name has been changed to Elm Tree House) to earn money for her new book because she used Cam's credit card without permission to publish it. She realises that Elm Tree House has changed and the new children act just like she did herself in her days. At times, she tries to help the children, concluding in the new social workers almost firing her. But sometimes she only gets the child's part of the story, then being told the whole thing and being totally confused and outraged.
- The Tracy Beaker Survival Files (2011–2012). A spin-off series where Tracy teaches lessons about various subjects using her stories from the past, and clips from The Story of Tracy Beaker and Tracy Beaker Returns.
- The Dumping Ground (2013–). The continued life at the Dumping Ground after Tracy Beaker moves on to a new care home, and focuses more on just one child in the care home.
- The Dumping Ground Survival Files (2014). A spin-off series where the Dumping Ground kids teach lessons about various subjects using stories that have happened to them and their friends in the past, using clips from Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground.
- Hetty Feather (2015–). Stars Isabel Clifton as Hetty Feather, living her life in the Foundling Hospital and, later at the end of the third series, starting her life as a maid in service.
- The Dumping Ground: I'm... (2016–2017). A spin-off series similar to the Survival Files, but instead where the characters make video about themselves. Who they are, what they like and stuff that's happened to them in their life. While using clips from Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground.
- Katy was made into a three-part TV series, broadcast on CBBC in March 2018.
- Four Children and It is being adapted into a feature film named Four Kids and It.
|Year of release||Title|
|1991||The Story of Tracy Beaker|
|2000||The Dare Game|
|2006||Starring Tracy Beaker|
|2018||My Mum Tracy Beaker|
|Year of release||Title|
|1996||Connie and the Water Babies|
|Year of release||Title|
|2001||Biscuit Barrel containing Cliffhanger and Buried Alive!|
|Year of release||Title|
|1997||Girls in Love|
|1998||Girls under Pressure|
|1999||Girls out Late|
|2002||Girls in Tears|
|Year of release||Title|
|2017||Hetty Feather's Christmas|
World of Hetty Feather
|Year of release||Title|
|Year of release||Title|
|1972||Hide and Seek|
|1973||Truth or Dare|
|1983||Waiting for the Sky to Fall|
|1984||The Killer Tadpole|
|1984||The Other Side|
|1984||The School Trip|
|1985||How to Survive Summer Camp|
|1986||The Monster in the Cupboard|
|1987||The Power of the Shade|
|1989||The Left Outs|
|1989||The Party in the Lift|
|1990||Take a Good Look|
|1991||The Dream Palace|
|1992||The Suitcase Kid|
|1993||The Mum Minder|
|1994||The Bed and Breakfast Star|
|1995||The Dinosaur's Packed Lunch|
|1995||Love from Katie|
|1995||My Brother Bernadette|
|1995||Sophie's Secret Diary|
|1996||Beauty and the Beast|
|1997||The Lottie Project|
|1997||The Monster Story-Teller|
|1999||The Illustrated Mum|
|2001||The Cat Mummy|
|2002||The Worry Website|
|2002||The Jacqueline Wilson Quiz Book|
|2004||The Diamond Girls|
|2005||The World Of Jacqueline Wilson|
|2007||Totally Jacqueline Wilson|
|2008||My Sister Jodie|
|2010||The Longest Whale Song|
|2011||Green Glass Beads|
|2012||The Worst Thing About My Sister|
|2012||Big Day Out|
|2012||Four Children and It|
|2014||Paws and Whiskers|
|2015||The Butterfly Club|
|2016||Rent A Bridesmaid|
|2017||Wave Me Goodbye|
- Since 1995 there are usually eight books on the Carnegie shortlist. CCSU lists 32 "Highly Commended" runners-up for the Carnegie Medal from 1966 to 2002 but only three before 1979 when the distinction became approximately annual. There were 29 "HC" books in 24 years including Wilson alone for 1991 and 1995.
- "Jacqueline Wilson". Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, 2nd ed., 8 vols. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Retrieved 2 January 2010, From 2005 to 2007.
- "2014 Awards". Hans Christian Andersen Awards. International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- Ayesha46; LottieLongshanks (2014-10-08). "Jacqueline Wilson: I didn't ever think I'd manage to write 100 books". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
- Pauli, Michelle (26 May 2005). "Children's laureateship goes to Jacqueline Wilson". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "Jacqueline Wilson". The Guardian. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- Wilson, Jacqueline (24 February 2007). "I was a girl for gritty realism". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- Mangan, Lucy (2015-02-06). "Jacqueline Wilson interview: 'People say my books are all sex and drugs, but I can't remember any'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
- "Penhryn Road Campus" (PDF). KUCEL – flexible event spaces. Kingston University London. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "Author profile". Jubilee Books. 2003. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011.
- "Dame Jacqueline Wilson's nasty adult world". The Daily Telegraph. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- 'WILSON, Jacqueline', Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2007 retrieved 30 May 2008. "Born 17 Dec. 1945; d of late Harry Aitken and of Margaret Aitken (née Clibbens) who was known as Biddy; m 1965, William Millar Wilson (marr. diss. 2004); one d".
- Armitstead, Claire (2004-02-14). "Profile: Jacqueline Wilson". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
-  Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- Kellaway, Kate (29 May 2005). "My inner age is between 10 and 40". The Observer. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Patrons". Momentum. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- Fleming, Christine (25 March 2011). "Friends of Richmond Park to mark 50 years of protecting the green space". Wandsworth Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- FRP announces its new patrons Friends of Richmond Park website. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Letterbox Club Patrons". BookTrust. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- "Jacqueline Wilson appointed Professorial Fellow". University of Roehampton. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
- "Jacqueline Wilson to become new University of Roehampton chancellor". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
- "Dame Jacqueline Wilson confirmed as new Chancellor". University of Roehampton. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "Dame Jacqueline Wilson re-appointed Chancellor of the University" (Press release). University of Roehampton. 5 April 2017. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- "BBC – The Big Read". BBC. April 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2017
- Lea, Richard (8 February 2008). "James Patterson stamps out library competition". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". The Guardian, 12 March 2001. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Carnegie Medal Award". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "Jacqueline Wilson". Children's Laureate (childrenslaureate.org.uk). Booktrust. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
- "No. 58557". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2007. pp. 6–7.
- Laing, Stuart. "Domus" in The Letter, Michaelmas 2012, 91, p.10, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge[permanent dead link]
- "Six-year-old makes acting debut on CBBC TV show". St Helens Star. St Helens, Merseyside. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Alberge, Dalya (19 July 2018). "Filming begins on Jacqueline Wilson's Four Kids and It". The Guardian.
- Ferguson, Donna (10 March 2018). "Tracy Beaker is back … as a single mum fighting to make ends meet". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
- London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-75815-5
- 'Dame Jacqueline Wilson's Nasty Adult World' The Telegraph, 8 March 2008.
- 'Damehood for Tracy Beaker Creator' BBC News, 29 December 2007.
- 'A Girl's own story' Article about Jacqueline Wilson by Lesley White, The Sunday Times, 18 February 2007.
- 'My Inner age is between 10 and 40' Article about Jacqueline Wilson by Kate Kellaway, The Observer, 29 May 2005.
- 'Profile: Jacqueline Wilson: Are you sitting uneasily, children?'The Sunday Times, 15 February 2004.
- 'The Pied Piper of Kingston' Article about Jacqueline Wilson by Claire Amitstead, The Guardian, 14 February 2004.
- 'Domestic Demons; In the latest Jacqueline Wilson book to be televised' by Susan Flockhart, The Sunday Herald, 28 December 2003
Bibliography and works
- 'Interview: Jacqueline Wilson' By Martin Barber, BBC Norfolk, 20 November 2007.
- 'How do I look? Wilson discusses clothes. by Liz Hoggard, The Independent, 9 November 2002.
- 'Question time' Hannah Pool interviews Jacqueline Wilson, The Guardian, 15 March 2007.
- 'The kids aren't alright' Article by Jacqueline Wilson, The Guardian, 3 March 2008.
- 'Writer's rooms: Jacqueline Wilson' Article by Jacqueline Wilson, The Guardian, 20 July 2007.
- 'I was a girl for gritty realism' by Jacqueline Wilson, The Guardian, 24 February 2007.
- Letter to the Telegraph about Children and modern society signed by Jacqueline Wilson
- Jacqueline Wilson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Jacqueline Wilson at British Council: Literature
- Parker, Vic. (2003) All About Jacqueline Wilson (Oxford: Heinemann Library)
| Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom