IWD 2023: Celebrating influential and inspiring South Shields icon Catherine Cookson
Catherine Cookson is widely celebrated in South Shields and left a lasting legacy after her death.
Today is International Women’s Day, and we at the Shields Gazette want to celebrate one of the most iconic, successful and influential women to hail from South Shields.
Born in 1906, Catherine Cookson DBE, is still to this day one of the most widely known British novelists. The author who passed away in 1998 aged 91, wrote almost 100 books which mostly focussed on working class life in South Shields.
Cookson published her first novel Kate Hannigan in 1950, and her final novel The Silent Lady was published posthumously in 2002. Her novels have been translated into over 20 different languages.
Many of Cookson’s books have been adapted into film, television, radio and theatre productions, starring various actors who have since gone on to have successful careers in the acting industry - including Sean Bean, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Robson Green.
Two televised film productions of her novels, The Fifteen Streets and The Black Velvet Gown were nominated for Emmy awards, with the latter winning the award for Best Drama in 1981.
Outside of her writing work, Cookson was a philanthropist pledging money to the University of Newcastle. Her foundation has continued to support various North East businesses and educational institutions.
Cookson has received various honorary titles and awards for her achievements and support towards the North East, including a DBE in 1985.
Sadly, Cookson passed away in 1998, aged 91 at her home in Newcastle, leaving a lasting legacy and influential impact on South Tyneside.