Stars in their own eyes

19th September 1997 at 01:00
Even the famous were young once. Elaine Carlton talked to four big names about youthful ambition

Jilly Cooper, author: I always wanted to be a journalist. I used to see these male journalists crowding around famous people at airports, chasing people and going off to war. They always wore macs and black hats and I wanted to be one of them. My great, great, great grandfather had founded a newspaper, The Leeds Mercury, so it was in my blood.

When I left school I went to work for the local paper. I didn't go to university because I didn't think I was bright enough, but the truth is I didn't try very hard. Once on the local paper I dreamed of working on Fleet Street where the average wage was Pounds 22 a week in 1956.

I tried to get a job there but no one wanted me so I went into public relations, which was awful.

I started writing short stories when I was 28 and then I met Godfrey Smith, the editor of The Sunday Times colour supplement at a party. I talked to him about the difficulty of being a wife and working mother, bringing up the children and then making love all night. He said: "It's very funny. Write it." So I did.

After he read it, Harry Evans (then editor of The Sunday Times) asked me to write a column which I did for more than 13 years. I have now written 37 books and all I would say to today's young people is "Follow your heart."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


Get Tes online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to Tes online and the Tes app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off Tes Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the Tes online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today