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Tuesday, 1 October 2013


I met Jilly Cooper when I was 18. I had just started as a trainee reporter on my local weekly newspaper and she was a highly successful columnist on the Sunday Times.
      'Where do you work?' she enquired politely, before the talk she gave to a roomful of captivated women.
      'The Express' I mumbled.
      'The Daily Express?' she asked.
      'The Lytham St Annes Express,' I managed with as much confidence as I could muster.
       It's a moment I've never forgotten.
       During that speech Jilly made a confession that has also stayed in my mind: she always looked through people’s airing cupboards when she visited the bathroom, to see what the family were really like. Excellent research for a writer, of course, but I've often wondered how she got away with it!
        Jilly has written so many best selling novels - with titles like Riders, Rivals and Polo - that even she must have trouble remembering them all. Now in her seventies the author has announced  she plans to keep on writing blockbusters for as long as she can. The reason? To pay for round-the-clock care for her publisher husband, Leo, who has Parkinson's Disease. Jilly herself has had a minor stroke, but nothing it seems, can stop her writing. And all I can say is – good for her. She’s been through some difficult times, not least when Leo had a much publicised affair with another woman, but she has always held her head up high and got on with life.
        Her only concession to her age is that her latest novel is ‘not as racy as the others.’  It does, she says, get harder to write erotic scenes in old age!
I don't believe it for a minute. As far as I'm concerned Jilly Cooper will never grow old..



Another Guernseyman said...

Strange how these things stay with you. Are you coming to the Guernsey Literary Festival next May? It's a great place to meet your favourite authors.

Guernsey Girl said...

Yes - I'll be there. Really enjoyed the last one. I've heard it's going to be bigger and better next time - and that the sun's going to shine all week.. :)

Barbara said...

I had to stop reading for a while as I needed to tidy the airing cupboard! I do hope visitors to my home don’t do that – it would be very easy as the airing cupboard is in the bathroom! What a terrifying thought.
Its ages since I read anything by Jilly Copper, so it’s high time I did.

Guernsey Girl said...

Lovely to hear from you Barbara. Hope you've enjoyed the tidy up :) My airing cupboard's been under lock and key for the past 40 years...Ps - have a lovely antique children's book to show you - will blog about it next time xx