The romantic novelist, Catherine Cookson, is one of the best selling authors in the world. She was born and raised on the south banks of the Tyne at South Shields in an area now called South Tyneside.

Today, the area often promotes itself as "Catherine Cookson Country" and there is an interesting South Shields Museum with a reconstruction of William Black Street where the author grew up.

In 1929 she left the North East and established an apartment hotel in Hastings on England's south coast. She stayed in Hastings for almost 50 years, only returning to the North East of England in 1975.

She lived in Northumberland, firstly at Corbridge and later at Langley near Haydon Bridge for 16 years until 1991 when she moved to Newcastle for her final years.

She first started writing, in Hastings, to help herself overcome depression following several miscarriages. Her first book, KATE HANNIGAN, was not published until 1950 when she was 44 years old but she went on to write 78 highly popular novels - most of which were set in the North East.

One of her most famous series concerned the Mallen family and was set in 19th-century Northumberland in Allendale. The saga began with THE MALLEN STREAK (1973) and continued with THE MALLEN GIRL (1974), and THE MALLEN LOT (1974).

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