Wor Catherine: Fact and Fiction

11 June 2018 – 30 September 2018

Dame Catherine Cookson wrote almost 100 books – which sold more than 123 million copies – and her novels were translated into at least 20 languages. To mark the 20th anniversary of her death, we opened an exhibition in 2018 to celebrate the life of the literary author. The free exhibition looked back at the life of the woman who rose from poverty to become the most widely read author in Britain. Dame Catherine Cookson remained the most borrowed author from public libraries in the UK for 17 years until four years after her death.

Along with details of her life, Wor Catherine: Fact and Fiction featured quizzes for visitors to test their knowledge of the author and her work and some of Catherine Cookson’s written material, loaned by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Visitors could also view a short film made by Unified Media, written by Tom Kelly. The film portrayed a young Catherine coming back to South Shields, reflecting on her life in the town, seeing the places she had written about and discovering what had changed about South Shields and what had remained as it was.