Meeting Jilly Cooper by Carmel HarringtonI’ve always been a self professed, proud, book geek. As a child my favourite place to visit was our local library and every night I transported myself to new and exciting worlds, with just a flick of a page. Then, one rainy Sunday afternoon, when I was fifteen, I picked up a copy of Rider’s, by the author Jilly Cooper. I had to hide this one from my mother, who wouldn’t have approved. That cover, with the cheeky hand! By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of the shenanigans of Rupert Campbell Black. Like a child given just one chocolate button, I craved more. You see, Jilly Cooper’s raucous romps set in the beautiful English countryside, are glorious. Her writing is witty, funny, romantic, corny, sexy and unputdownable.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one day I’d get to meet her. But guess what? I did! Brace yourselves, there’s no way around this, I’m going to have to get all boasty mcboasty for a bit….
You see it all came about because I was shortlisted for a BGE Irish Book Award in 2016, for The Things I Should Have Told You. I can’t explain how much that meant to me. But then, to top that, news leaked that Jilly Cooper was being honoured with a LifeTime Achievement Award and my giddiness levels skyrocketed.
On the awards night, holding Charlotte Ledger’s hand, (my gorgeous editor), we made our way to Jilly’s table. A crowd had formed around her, as other writers and publishing folk took their turn to say hello.
|L-R, Carmel Harrington, Jilly Cooper, Charlotte Ledger|
I breathlessly told Jilly how much I adored her books, how I devoured them as a young adult, how loved she was here in Ireland, how much I loved her.
And do you know what she did?
She leaned down and kissed my hand, then said in that beautiful, terribly posh, lilting voice, ‘Oh you are heavenly.’
Me. Heavenly. Words that she would have used to describe beloved characters like Taggie. I shall never forget that.
I didn’t win an Irish Book Award on the night. But I didn’t walk away empty handed.
I met one of my heroines and she didn't disappoint one tiny bit.
To rob her phrase, she was heavenly.
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