About Jilly


Jilly Cooper is a journalist, author, and media superstar.

The author of many number one bestselling novels, she lives in Gloucestershire.

Jilly was appointed OBE in the 2004 Birthday Honours for services to Literature. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Universities of Gloucestershire and Anglia Ruskin and appointed CBE in 2018 for services to Literature and Charity, and more recently DBE in 2024.


Jilly Cooper was born in Hornchurch, Essex in 1937, but she comes from a well-known Yorkshire family. Her great great grandfather founded The Leeds Mercury (which eventually merged with the Yorkshire Post) and was Liberal MP for Leeds. Her maternal grandfather went to St Peter’s, York, and then into the church. As a padre, he won an M.C. in the First World War, and later became Canon of Heaton, Yorkshire.

Her father was in the army and when she was two they moved back to Ilkley where she was mostly brought up. She went to school at Godolphin in Salisbury where she became known to the staff as “the Unholy Terror”. In the mid-fifties her family moved to London. Her writing career began in 1956 when she got a job as a cub reporter on the Middlesex Independent. She then moved to public relations and was sacked from 22 jobs before ending up in book publishing.


Click on an image and explore a selection of pictures from Jilly’s photo album, including friends and family, as well as a plethora of very well-known faces!