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. The Illustrated Mum won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, the 1999 Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards and was also shortlisted for the 1999 Whitbread Children’s Book Award.
Double Act won the prestigious Smarties Medal and the Children’s Book Award as well as being highly commended for the Carnegie Medal. The Story of Tracy Beaker won the 2002 Blue Peter People’s Choice Award.
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!
In 2002 Jacqueline was awarded the OBE for services to literacy in schools and from 2005 to 2007 she was the Children’s Laureate. In 2008 she became Dame Jacqueline Wilson.
Fequently Asked Questions
Where were you born?
I was born in Bath, but we moved to Kingston when I was little. I've lived here ever since.
What sort of family do you have?
I don't have any brothers or sisters and my Dad died long ago, but my Mum is still very much alive. I have one lovely grown up daughter Emma.
What sort of house do you live in?
I live in a four-bedroomed Victorian house. It's not a very grand house, but very comfortable - and there are lots of bookshelves in every room.
Do you have any pets?
I have two beautiful grey and white cats called Jacob and Lily and a little black puppy called Jackson. I found all three in Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
When is your birthday?
What sort of music do you like?
I like most kinds, and I've always been a big fan of Freddie Mercury and Queen.
What’s your favourite film?
I love a long-ago black and white film called 'Mandy' about a little deaf girl.
What’s your favourite colour?
I often wear black, with lots of silver jewellery.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I loved English, especially writing stories. I also liked Art.
What was your worst subject at school?
Which school did you go to?
I went to Latchmere Primary School and Coombe School for Girls.
Did you have any jobs apart from writing?
I had a Saturday job in a bookshop, worked in a publishers for three months, and was a journalist for a couple of years.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Ever since I was six years old.
How many books have you published?
'Opal Plumstead' will be my 100th book!
Which is your favourite out of all your books?
It's hard to choose, but I think I like 'Hetty Feather' most of all.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I don't really know. They just pop into my head.
Who is your favourite character in your books?
Do you base your characters on real people?
No, I much prefer to make them all up.
Are your books always illustrated by Nick Sharratt?
Yes, nowadays. Ever since Tracy Beaker. I'm so lucky to have Nick as my illustrator. I think he's absolutely brilliant.
Which was your favourite book when you were a child?
I loved 'Nancy and Plum' by Betty Macdonald. I also loved 'Little Women', 'What Katy Did', 'Ballet Shoes', 'A Little Princess', and 'Five Children and It.'
What are your favourites now?
I like adult books like 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath and 'The Accidental Tourist' by Anne Tyler.
Do you know any other children’s writers?
I know lots. Jean Ure, Adele Geras, Anne Fine and Francesca Simon are special friends.
Have you ever written any books for adults?
I wrote a few crime novels for adults long ago, but I much prefer writing for children.
Why do you always write about girls?
I've written several books with boys as the main characters ('Cliffhanger', 'Buried Alive', 'The were puppy' etc) but I find it easier to write about girls.
Where do you write?
I like to write early in the morning, sitting on a chaise longue upstairs. Jacob and Lily sometimes curl at my feet.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes about six months. It's annoying when it probably takes you only a few days to read one of my books.
What did it feel like to see your first book on sale in the shops?
I was so excited!
Do you travel much?
I can't nowadays because I have kidney failure, but I used to travel all over the world. I had wonderful times in Europe, Dubai, America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Do you get lots of fan mail?
Yes, I get enormous Jiffy bags full of letters, and many hundreds of emails sent to me each month too.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
I fell over at a dance long ago.
What was your proudest moment?
When I had to introduce the Queen to all my fellow authors on the day she was celebrating her 80th birthday.
Have you got any special ambitions?
I hope to be able to write lots more books!
What’s it like being a famous writer?
It's very enjoyable, especially when lots of people turn up to listen when I give talks. But most of the time I lead a very ordinary life: I chat to my friend, I phone my daughter, I take Jackson for a walk in the park, I browse in bookshops, I go for a swim, I watch box sets, I read late into the night.
Do you love the new website?
01 October 2012
I hope you love the exciting new website! Let me know what you think of it. I’ll be meeting lots of you this month when I’m dashing around, talking about my new book Emerald Star. I’ve had several emails asking about the three books about Hetty Feather, wondering if they tell the same story, and if they’re all about the same person! Soooo, for new readers: Hetty Feather is about the first ten years of a Victorian foundling girl. She’s fostered in the country until she’s five, and then she’s sent to the bleak Foundling Hospital. This story ends when she’s ten and has made a momentous discovery. Sapphire Battersea is the second book about Hetty. She’s fourteen now, and leaves the Foundling Hospital to start life as a servant. Things don’t go smoothly for Hetty – and she ends up being a ‘mermaid’ in a seaside carnival show. In the third book about Hetty, Emerald Star, she sets off to find her father – but she’s also thinking longingly of her dear foster brother Jem. You might think you can guess what will happen, but I hope to surprise you! I do hope you enjoy all three Hetty Feather books. She’s my favourite of all my characters and she’s very dear to my heart.
I’m going to be very busy in October, talking about Emerald Star and putting the finishing touches to my brand new book Queenie. I was up at the Seven Stories gallery in Newcastle the other day, celebrating their seventh birthday, and I had a chat with Gillian, who worked so hard on my exhibition. She’s recently become the proud owner of a lovely little cat and guess what – she’s called Queenie too!
My exhibition is closing at Seven Stories now, but it’s travelling to Hove and then Hull and then Kilmarnock and then in 2014 it will end up in the Museum of Childhood in London. So hopefully lots more of you will be able to see it.
Love from Jacqueline Wilson
- May 2016 - May 2016 - Letter for May
- April 2016 - Letter for April
- January 2016 - Letter for January
- December 2015 - Letter for December
- November 2015 - Letter for November
- October 2015 - Little Stars events
- September 2015 - Little Stars events!
- August 2015 - Letter for August
- June 2015 - Letter for June
- May 2015 - Letter for May
- April 2015 - Letter for April
- March 2015 - Letter for March
- February 2015 - February events!
- January 2015 - Letter for January
- November 2014 - Letter for December
- October 2014 - Letter for October
- September 2014 - 100th book coming soon!
- July 2014 - Letter for July
- June 2014 - Letter for June
- May 2014 - Letter for May
- March 2014 - Letter for March
- February 2014 - Happy February!
- January 2014 - Happy New Year!
- December 2013 - Happy Holidays!
- November 2013 - Cats, dogs and dancing!
- October 2013 - Big Diamond events!
- August 2013 - Diamond is out soon!
- August 2013 - Summer reading!
- July 2013 - Emerald Star events!
- June 2013 - All about pets!
- May 2013 - Diamond is finished!
- April 2013 - Happy Easter holidays!
- March 2013 - New plans for Hetty!
- February 2013 - A new kitten called Lily!
- January 2013 - Happy New Year!
- December 2012 - Time to do some Christmas shopping!
- November 2012 - Queenie is finally finished!
- October 2012 - Do you love the new website?
- September 2012 - Dear everyone,
- August 2012 - Will Jacob be getting a new playmate?
- July 2012 - A break in beautiful Norfolk!
- June 2012 - Wishing you a very sunny Jubilee!
- May 2012 - Eating ice-cream in Italy!
- March 2012 - Camel-riding in Dubai!
- February 2012 - Meet Jacqueline this February!
- December 2011 - Merry Christmas!
- November 2011 - No time to rest!
- October 2011 - Here, there and everywhere!
- September 2011 - A very busy time!
- July 2011 - Holiday Time!
- June 2011 - A little rest and relaxation!
- May 2011 - Healthy & Happy!
- April 2011 - Spring has sprung!
- March 2011 - What's Hetty Feather 2 called?
- February 2011 - Busy, busy, busy!
- January 2011 - Welcome to a brand new year!
- December 2010 - Christmas time is here!
- November 2010 - No time to rest!
- October 2010 - Out and about!
- September 2010 - Jacqueline reveals EXCLUSIVE news on her NEW novel
Letter from Naila!
22 February 2016
Hi, it's Naila Amegashitsi here (pronounced Ny-la) someone you've never met before, but I am a great fan of your work, particularly the Hetty Feather series. They are truly extraordinary and got me hooked from the very beginning. How you come up with these extraordinary ideas I do not know!
The main reason I emailed you is not to ramble on about how much I love your books but to ask if you could possibly do me the favour of writing another book in the Hetty Feather series, this time giving it a twist, like - oh, say Bertie falls in love with Janet and Jem just can't bear to stay away from Hetty?? And say none of them knew it?? I just desperately want Hetty to end up with Jem... I do hope it's not too much to ask? Reply back soon!!! :)
Naila Amegashitsi (don't bother trying to pronounce the surname). . .x
I’m so pleased you like my Hetty Feather books. I loved your ideas for a new Hetty book, though I can’t quite imagine Bertie falling for Janet. I know you – and many others – want Hetty to end up with Jem.
I’m giving the Hetty stories a little rest just now, but I’m working on a brand new Victorian character for my October book and she might just meet up with Hetty at some stage!
Love from Jacqueline x
Fan mail archive
- February 2016 - Letter from Naila!
- February 2016 - Letter from Indigo fan
- November 2015 - Questions from Mighty Luce!
- July 2014 - An aspiring translater
- June 2014 - A letter from twins!
- June 2014 - Buried alive at the seaside!
- May 2014 - Questions and poems from Cardiff!
- February 2014 - A worried cat owner!
- February 2014 - A missing cat
- February 2014 - A letter from a true tomboy!
- December 2013 - A fan in Hong Kong!
- November 2013 - Book club questions!
- October 2013 - Triplet fans from New Zealand!
- October 2013 - A fan with a pet rabbit!
- September 2013 - Letter from talented sisters!
- September 2013 - A fan from Kenya!
- August 2013 - A letter from a cat fan!
- July 2013 - A fan from Russia!
- July 2013 - A Hetty Feather fan from Poland!
- July 2013 - A fan of reading and of music!
- June 2013 - A book club founder!
- June 2013 - A professional singer!
- May 2013 - Love for Queenie!
- April 2013 - A Tracy Beaker fan!
- April 2013 - A story from long ago!
- March 2013 - Favourite ice cream!
- February 2013 - Answers to Lily's questions!
- January 2013 - Christmas wishes from Ireland!
- December 2012 - A letter from Emma (and her fish!)
- November 2012 - A real life Hetty Feather!
- October 2012 - A very talented illustrator!
- October 2012 - Will Hetty make it to the big screen?
- September 2012 - Not one but TWO lovely letters !
- August 2012 - A writer in the making!
- July 2012 - A chance encounter at the National Gallery!
- July 2012 - A fellow Hetty fan from Poland!
- July 2012 - A message from a movie star!
- June 2012 - New school nerves...
- June 2012 - A Colgate smile!
- June 2012 - The story behind Hetty Feather!
- June 2012 - A lovely birthday gift...
- May 2012 - Meeting Jacqueline in Dubai!
- February 2012 - Ode to Jacob!
- February 2012 - A real-life Marty!
If you would like to write to Jacqueline please send your letter:
BY EMAIL : Click here!BY POST:
Jacqueline Wilson Fan Mail c/o Marketing Department
Penguin Random House Children's
Jacqueline really does appreciate all letters she receives every month and is sorry that she doesn't have the time to meet you all or reply to all your messages individually.
She's always busy writing brilliant new books for you to enjoy, and visiting bookshops where she tries to meet as many of you as she can. Every month, we at the Official Jacqueline Wilson fan club collect all your letters and send them on to Jacqueline – then she chooses her favourite, most interesting and original email to answer on this very special fan mail page.
So if you have 'contacted Jacky' do check back to see if your letter has been chosen! Remember that Jacqueline is unable to respond to all of your letters so please don’t be too disappointed if you don't get a reply. And if you need to talk to someone in complete confidence about anything that is worrying you, please contact Childline.
News & Interviews 2016
Sunday 7 February, 2016
Russell Davies interviews Jacqueline on Radio 2 about her writing alongside a soundtrack inspired by her career.
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Sapphire Battersea Book Tour
Saturday 29th October, London
My last event - and it was a brilliant one too! Annette at the Foundling Museum had found delightful little red-haired twins to be Hetty Feather/Sapphire Battersea. The girls gave excellent readings, and there were all sorts of crafts and quizzes to take part in. I gave a talk in the morning and another in the afternoon, and signed multiple copies of my two Hetty books. I met such interesting people too - lovely sisters called Precious, Faith and Blessing, and Isadora who had a copy of my favourite children's book 'Nancy and Plum'. I especially liked Molly who wrote a wonderful story for me from Jacob's point of view - and she gave me a little woolly mouse present for him too.
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Wednesday 26th October & Thursday 27th October
I love going up to Huddersfield to Sonia and Barry Benster’s Children’s Bookshop. They always make a big fuss of me – and this time insisted on giving me two beautiful Faith Jaques picture books as a present. I gave an after dinner speech celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Kirklees and Calderdale Children’s Book Group. It was originally going to be an adult evening but lots of lovely girls came too, all in beautiful party dresses.
The next morning we drove over to Haworth where I was giving a talk arranged by the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Charlotte Bronte has been my favourite classic writer since I was a teenager, so I was thrilled to be invited. I was shown all around the wonderfully atmospheric museum and then taken behind the scenes. The curator showed us tiny little letters and stories and sketches by the Bronte children, and a lock of Charlotte’s hair. There are some wonderful perks if you’re a travelling children’s writer!
Saturday 22nd October- Butlins, Bognor
It was great fun to go to Butlins in Bognor – I wish there had been time to go on some of the rides. Gary Deane of Waterstone’s had organised a wonderful huge blow up of the Sapphire Battersea cover with Hetty’s face cut out so you could peep through for photographs – a brilliant idea. Ruby and Lottie gave me a wonderful enormous picture of my little cat Jacob and me signing books for all my favourite characters. Kitty made Jacob his own cute toy mouse and Ella gave me a beautiful sparkly necklace. I even had a very special early Christmas card from Leah.
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Thursday 20th October- Ripley St Thomas Academy, Lancaster
I did an interview with a journalist from The Guardian on a mobile phone whilst I was in the car on the way to Ripley St Thomas Academy in Lancaster. The event was beautifully organised by Rosalind Buckland the librarian there. All the girls were kept happy watching a DVD of Tracy Beaker while I signed everybody’s books.
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Wednesday 19th October- University of Central Lancashire
Oh my goodness.. It was very exciting that the University of Central Lancashire was holding a special Jacqueline Wilson Festival! It was hard work for Nick and me, but extremely enjoyable. On the Wednesday I gave an hour’s writing workshop to the winners of a short story competition – they were very talented too. After lunch Nick and I met all thirty competition winners and sgned books and had our photos taken and then we had a special press conference led by four excellent young girl reporters. Then Nick and I judged competitions. I found it such a hard task. I loved Charlotte’s and Ellie’s stories but Jenni’s very touching emotional entry simply had to be the winner. I presented the prize to her when I gave my talk in the evening and then I was kept very busy signing. I met such lovely girls – Rebecca gave me a Victorian style doll called Lady Priscilla and Molly and Jenny gave me a little grey Radish rabbit beautifully dressed in Sapphire Battersea’s best green dress.
Saturday 15th October- Richard Rose Central Academy, Carlisle
I did a talk for Waterstones in Carlisle in a beautiful state-of-the-art school, the Richard Rose Central Academy. I met Caitlyn and Lydia two very keen fans wearing woolly hats and customised T shirts. I was touched by two sisters Olivia, who wrote a very sensitive poem starting “I am imaginative and I love to draw”. Her younger sister Frankie told me all about her three cats. I also met a fantastic boy fan, Samuel in a zany lion T shirt.
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Thursday 13th October- Seven Stories exhibition, Newcastle
It was so exciting to go to Seven Stories in Newcastle to see my very own exhibition there, Daydreams and Diaries: the Story of Jacqueline Wilson. Gill and Alison and their brilliant team have worked so hard to make it such a wonderful exhibition too. You start off in a replica of my childhood bedroom and see all my favourite pictures and books and dolls – you can even open a chest of drawers and see the sort of dresses I used to wear! The exhibition features all my favourite books, the actual sofa from the set of Tracy Beaker Returns, and you can try on Victorian style hats and make a Hetty Feather silhouette. The exhibition celebrates my dear friend Nick too – you can view all our holiday snaps. If you get to go to Seven Stories, do write and let me know which part you like the most.
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Saturday 8th October – Waterstone’s in Bridport, Dorset
I had a lovely day out to Bridport in Saturday and gave a talk at the Electric Palace Theatre. I met up with Charlotte and her brother Brandon and their Mum and had a happy chat before my event. I talked for an hour and then started signing books. First in the queue were sisters Josie and Chloe who have called their chicken Hetty Feather! I was taken with two other sisters called Elkie and Phoenix, a talented artist called Nia, and a delightful small girl called Tilly who suggested I should read Anne of Green Gables.
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Friday 7th October – WH Smith, Guildford
Today I went to WH Smith in Guildford and met Anna and Lauren, two lovely friends who want to be writers. I also saw Aleysha who last met me at WH Smith in Reading and had gorgeous, glossy photos to prove it.
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Thursday 6th October – The Children’s Bookshop, Muswell Hill, London
I so love the very special Muswell Hill Children’s Bookshop! Kate organised a brilliant event and I met such lovely children. I was taken with friends Gabriella (who likes writing and ballet) and Isabella (who likes reading and ice skating). Jolene gave me a beautiful big bouquet of flowers. I loved chatting to Dottie and her Mum and also to Bell and Holiday, two friends with beautifully unusual names.
Saturday 1st October – Bath Festival of Children’s Literature
It was great to start the very special Sapphire Battersea Tour with a HUGE event. I love going to Bath (my birth city!) and I had a wonderful time at The Forum. I spoke to 1,424 people. I think this is a new record, my biggest audience ever. John and his team at the Bath Festival made everything run very smoothly and it was lovely to be introduced by my old friend Jeremy Strong (we share Nick Sharratt as an illustrator!).
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Tour blog archive
- 2012: Sapphire Battersea Book Tour (11 posts)
- 2012: Lily Alone Book Tour (6 posts)
- 2012: The Worst Thing About My Sister Book Tour (3 posts)
- 2010: The Longest Whale Song Book Tour (13 posts)
- 2010: Jacqueline’s trip to Dubai. (6 posts)
- 2010: Little Darlings Book Tour (11 posts)
- 2009: Hetty Feather Book Tour (15 posts)