Jilly Cooper

Jilly Cooper, OBE (born February 21, 1937) is an English author. She started her career as a journalist and wrote numerous works of non-fiction before writing several romance novels, the first of which appeared in 1975. She is most famous for writing the six blockbuster novels the Rutshire Chronicles.


After unsuccessfully trying to start a career in the British national press, Cooper became a junior reporter for The Middlesex Independent, based in Brentford. She worked for the paper from 1957 to 1959. Subsequently, she worked as an account executive, copywriter, publisher's reader and even a receptionist.

Her break came with a chance meeting at a dinner party. The editor of The Sunday Times Magazine was impressed by the honest and frank way that she talked about her life as a young wife and housewife, and asked her to write a feature about her experiences. This led to a column in which Cooper wrote about marriage, sex and housework with an openness that was uncommon for the time. That column ran from 1969 to 1982, when she moved to The Mail on Sunday, where she worked for another five years.

Cooper’s first column led to the publication of her first book, How to Stay Married in 1969, and which was quickly followed by a guide to working life, How to Survive from Nine to Five in 1970. These were successful enough to merit some of her journalism being collected into a single volume, Jolly Super, in 1971. Her continuing success led to several similar volumes being issued.

The theme of class dominates much of her writing and her non-fiction is written from a distinct upper middle-class British perspective, focusing on the relationships between men and women, and matters of social class in contemporary Britain

Jilly Cooper

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