Jacqueline Wilson was born in Bath in 1945, but spent most of her childhood in Kingston-on-Thames. She always wanted to be a writer and wrote her first ‘novel’ when she was nine, filling in countless Woolworths’ exercise books as she grew up. As a teenager she started work for a magazine publishing company and then went on to work as a journalist on Jackie magazine (which she was told was named after her!) before turning to writing novels full-time.
One of Jacqueline’s most successful and enduring creations has been the famous Tracy Beaker, who first appeared in 1991 in The Story of Tracy Beaker. This was also the first of her books to be illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Since then Jacqueline has been on countless awards shortlists and has gone on to win many awards.
Jacqueline is one of the nation’s favourite authors, and her books are loved and cherished by young readers not only in the UK but all over the world. She has sold millions of books and in the UK alone the total now stands at over 35 million!
Russell Davies interviews Jacqueline on Radio 2 about her writing alongside a soundtrack inspired by her career. Listen here!
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. Girls in Tears was the Children's Book of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.
Two of her books were "Highly Commended" runners-up for the annual Carnegie Medal: The Story of Tracy Beaker (1991) and Double Act (1995). (Wilson has not won the annual Medal from British librarians, which recognises the year's best book for children or young adults written by a British subject; recently, simply the best published in the U.K.)
In June 2002, Wilson was given 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.
In the 2008 New Year Honours, Wilson was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
In July 2012, she was also elected an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
All of Wilson's books are fiction except the three autobiographies listed here.
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