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Dame Catherine Cookson



Dame Catherine Cookson
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.75

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    autobiographical, longhand, manuscript, multimillionaire, novelist, story-teller, inspiration, feisty, status, alcoholic, fondly, novels, wealthy, education, mines, recorder
     content words:    Catherine Cookson, Catherine Ann Cookson, Northeast England, Wild Irish Girl, Kate Hannigan, Tilly Trotter, Dame Commander, British Empire, Dame Catherine


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Dame Catherine Cookson
By Colleen Messina
  

1     If you write about what you know, you can write well. Many writers use their own experiences, even hard ones, to inspire their work. Catherine Cookson, a famous British novelist, used her own sad childhood as inspiration for her many novels.
 
2     Catherine Ann Cookson was born on June 27, 1906, in Northeast England. Her mother was an alcoholic, so Catherine was raised by her grandmother. She always thought that her mother was her sister. Catherine went to school until she was 13, but her family was poor so she began working as a maid in a wealthy house. She spent her spare time reading. She also noticed how differently rich people lived. This experience helped Catherine create characters that faced great hardships in her novels.
 
3     Catherine loved words. She turned to writing because telling stories always came naturally to her. She said, "I was a story-teller from the time I could talk...I used to pass the time, telling myself wonderful stories about us living in a nice house." Catherine also told stories about tiny green men who talked to her. She realized that her vivid imagination made her happy. She wrote her first story when she was 11 years old. It was called The Wild Irish Girl. She boldly sent it to a publisher, but her manuscript was rejected. She was a brave girl!

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