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Jacqueline Wilson (1945 - )
added by Buffheart
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Jacqueline Wilson was born Jacqueline Aitken in Bath, Somerset, in 1945. Her father was a civil servant, her mother an antiques dealer. Wilson spent most of her childhood in Kingston upon Thames, where she went to Latchmere Primary School. Wilson was an imaginative child and enjoyed reading and making up stories. She particularly enjoyed books by Noel Streatfeild, as well as American classics like Little Women and What Katy Did. Even as young as six and seven, Wilson knew that she wanted to be a writer and would fill Woolworths notebooks with stories of her imaginary games. At the age of nine she wrote her first "novel" which was twenty two sides ie 11 pieces of paper long. The book was called Meet the Maggots about a family with seven children. Although she was good at English, the young Wilson had no interest in maths and would often stare out of the window and use her imagination rather than paying attention to the class, leading her final year teacher at Latchmere to nickname her "Jacky Daydream". Wilson later used this nickname as the title of the first stage of her autobiography.
Apart from in English, Wilson did not do particularly well at school and had to re-take her 11+ exam in order to pass as she had a bad cold on the day (see Jacky Daydream). After Latchmere, she moved on to Coombe Girls' School, which she still visits to this day. Kingston University has named the main hall at its Penrhyn Road campus "Jacqueline Wilson Hall" in recognition of her connections with Kingston upon Thames.
Having left school at sixteen, Wilson started training as a Secretary but then applied to work with the Dundee-based publishing company DC Thomson on a new girls' magazine Jackie. DC Thomson offered the 17 year old a job after she penned a piece on the horrors of teenage discos. Wilson therefore moved to Scotland. An urban myth that the magazine was named after her has been perpetuated by the author in promotional work even though this has been denied by those who were involved in the launch.
In Scotland, Wilson fell in love with a printer named William Millar Wilson. He then joined the police force and the couple moved south for his work, marrying in 1965 when Wilson was 19. Two years later, they had a daughter, Emma.
Wilson focused on her writing, initially writing a few crime fiction books before dedicating herself to writing for children. At the age of 40, she took A-level English, passing with a grade A. Wilson had mixed success with some forty books before rising to fame in 1991 with The Story of Tracy Beaker. In 2004 Wilson's marriage was dissolved after her husband of three decades left her.
Wilson lives in a handsome Victorian villa in Kingston upon Thames. The house is filled with books as she remains a keen reader, getting through a book a week despite her hectic schedule. In her adult tastes, Wilson's favourite writers include Katherine Mansfield and Sylvia Plath. As the owner of some 15,000 books, Wilson had to buy the outbuilding at the bottom of her garden to house her library. She also surrounds herself with old-fashioned childhood objects such as a rocking horse and a number of antique dolls. Wilson also has a unique taste in clothes and jewellery. She is known for wearing black clothes and an array of large rings. She swims fifty lengths each day before breakfast. She likes all sorts of music, especially Queen and Freddie Mercury.
She is patron of the charity Momentum in Kingston upon Thames, which aims to help children and the families of children undergoing treatment for cancer in Surrey.