Claire King


Posts Tagged ‘Jilly Cooper’

You, me and Jilly C.

Posted on: October 20th, 2016 by Claire - 10 Comments

Would you like to join me in Stroud for drinks and nibbles, followed by literary chat with Jilly Cooper? Read on!

On Thursday 17th November Jilly Cooper will be taking part in the Stroud Book Festival. I will have been on a panel with Katie Fforde earlier that afternoon, talking about what constitutes romantic fiction, and will of course be staying on for the evening to hear from Jilly Cooper, who has been a literary hero of mine for over 30 years.

Meanwhile, my daughter Amélie is busy (along with the rest of her Y7 schoolmates) raising funds for Lepra, a charity I have been familiar with for a long time – in 1991 I spent a month over Christmas in India, where I volunteered on a Lepra awareness and treatment programme in Secunderabad.

Amélie has asked for my help with fundraising activities, so here’s the plan:

I have two extra tickets to hear Jilly Cooper speak on 17th November at 7pm, and I’m offering drinks, nibbles and bookish chat with me on the comfy sofas of the nearby Curio Lounge prior to the event. I’ll also throw in a signed copy of my latest novel, Everything Love Is. 

Leprosy is a disease that is easily identified and treated, and a big part of the work charities like Lepra do is education, working to stop the disease in its tracks and end the stigma that sees people turned out of their families and communities. Fundraising for Lepra is as much about tackling issues of poverty and prejudice as it is fighting disease.

So, this is your the chance to have a great night out for two people AND make a real difference to people’s lives.


Roll up, roll up and please post your bids in the comments section below, before November 2nd please. I will let the winner of the auction know that afternoon.

The entirety of the winning bid will go to Lepra, and will make a big difference:

  • £3 can buy a self-care kit, allowing someone with leprosy to look after the parts of their body that have been affected by the disease and prevent further infections
  • £4.50 buys a pair of special shoes so someone with foot deformities can walk again, transforming their life
  • £25 can give health education to a school of up to 100 children, allowing children to recognise symptoms of illness and raising awareness of leprosy
  • £75 can pay for a Paramedic for a month

Looking forward to a great evening…

Thanks to Stroud Book Festival for their kind donation of the event tickets, and to Bloomsbury Books for their kind donation of the books.


The Illicit Pleasures of Dorothy Whipple

Posted on: February 13th, 2011 by Claire - 15 Comments

You might think you've got it covered, but we all know what you're reading.

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing Nicola Beauman, founder of Persephone books, talking about women writers and some of the constraints that they face in the literary world. In particular, why female authors are notably absent from the literary canon, despite the fact that their work is excellent and much appreciated by readers.

Nicola gave the example of Dorothy Whipple, who is one of their most popular authors at Persephone, although she was not considered to be a ‘serious writer’.

She also mentioned that it was not unheard of for ‘serious writers’ to own Dorothy Whipple novels and hide them away inside other books, as though they were shameful reading, a sort of literary guilty pleasure.

This was an interesting point, because only that morning my friend had admitted to me that she now regularly reads Jilly Cooper on her Kindle on her morning commute, when previously she would have read something more literary or maybe a decent biography. “The thing is,” she said, “now no-one can see what I’m reading.”

It’s true, you can’t judge a person by the cover of the book they’re reading when you can’t see the cover. Indeed, romance seems to be the fastest growing genre on e-books and part of the reason is that readers who may have been bashful reading romances in public, or even in front of their husbands, can now download entire back catalogues and read them discretely, while claiming to be working through something more highbrow.

Where does this shame come from that tells us what we ‘should’ be reading? What kind of books we should enjoy and what books are a sort of literary gluttony? Are e-readers helping to throw off the shackles of snobbish oppression, and will our new status as anonymous readers change our reading habits? Will people still buy Jonathan Franzen in hard back so they can show off on the tube?

But the most important question is…What’s your guilty pleasure?