This Best-Selling Children’s Author Made An Inspiring Confession About Her Sexuality

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It may have been old news to those who know her. But in April 2020 one of the world’s most popular children’s authors made a confession that came as a surprise to everyone else who had grown up reading her books. This revelation, as it happens, was in relation to her sexuality.

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The writer in question was septuagenarian Jacqueline Wilson. The hugely popular British talent has penned no fewer than 110 different children’s novels throughout the course of her glittering and lengthy career. And she’s best known for her series of books based on the character of trouble-making care home kid Tracy Beaker.

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Wilson certainly isn’t afraid to tackle themes deemed controversial when it comes to children’s literature. Divorce, mental illness and adoption are just a few of the thorny subjects that have been covered in her work over the years. And it’s this willingness to approach real issues affecting youngsters that has helped her to stand out.

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In 2014 Wilson received a British nomination for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. And in a survey conducted by the BBC to find Britain’s 100 most beloved books, four of her novels made the cut. Yet Wilson’s success is hardly a surprise, considering that she started writing at the tender age of nine.

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Sadly, Wilson’s parents didn’t share her passion for literature, and they rarely offered her any encouragement. Instead, the youngster turned to the local library, where she borrowed countless books. Wilson used classic stories such as What Katy Did and Little Women as a means of escaping from her home life.

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Wilson initially trained as a secretary after she left high school. But her career path changed dramatically when she landed a position at Jackie, a new magazine for young girls that was printed in the Scottish city of Dundee. However, Wilson took some time to develop her style and find an audience.

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Wilson initially began writing novels in the crime fiction genre before switching her focus to a much younger market. After passing a school exam in English at the relatively late age of 40, she published her debut novel about the adventures of Tracy Beaker. It was this character, of course, that finally helped Wilson to become a household name.

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Tracy Beaker is a rebellious youngster who lives in a child care home nicknamed “The Dumping Ground.” The character regularly lets her imagination run away with her and is often seen getting into trouble. As a result, some parents have regarded Beaker as a negative and disruptive influence on their children.

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In a 2008 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Wilson acknowledged that the content in her novels can often be misinterpreted by parents. She said, “Some adults do have a problem with my books, without having read them. They think they are very outspoken and depressing. But they always have a happy ending.”

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Young readers, however, couldn’t get enough of Beaker’s trials and tribulations. Wilson penned a further four stories about the mischief maker including The Dare Game and We Are the Beaker Girls. There was also a stage adaptation, video game and TV series in which Dani Harmer played the lead character.

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But Wilson isn’t just a one-trick pony. The much-loved author has also enjoyed success with several other series of children’s novels such as Hetty Feather and Girls. Meanwhile, Love Lessons, My Sister and Jodie and Five Children and It are just a few of her stand-alone works that have flown off the bookshelves.

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Wilson has also helped to inspire a new generation of writers in her capacity as a lecturer at the University of Roehampton. The author teaches Children’s Literature and Creative Writing modules at the educational establishment. Furthermore, Wilson has been given honorary degrees by universities in Dundee, Bath, Kingston and Winchester.

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Despite their controversial nature, Wilson’s books have picked up several prestigious accolades. In 1999 The Illustrated Mum won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Both Double Act and The Story of Tracy Beaker have been “Highly Commended” runners-up for a literary award known as the Carnegie Medal. And in 2003 Girls in Tears was crowned the British Book Awards’ Children’s Book of the Year.

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In 2002 Wilson was further recognized for her services to education when she was given an OBE. Three years later she was appointed as the fourth Children’s Laureate where she continued to advocate the importance of reading aloud to children throughout their early school years. And in 2008 Wilson was made a dame by the Queen in the New Year’s Honors.

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Wilson was supported in her rise to literary fame by Millar Wilson, a printer she’d met while working in Dundee at Jackie magazine. The pair walked down the aisle in 1965, when Wilson was in her late teens. By the time she was 21, the future children’s author had also given birth to their only child Emma.

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In an interview with The Guardian, Wilson couldn’t stop gushing about her daughter. She said, “Emma is the love of my life. I adore her. I’ve been so lucky. We’ve always been close and now she’s grown up we’re still great friends. I had Emma when I was very young. We chat on the phone every day now and recommend books to each other and meet whenever we can go shopping and see an exhibition.”

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Wilson became a divorcee in 2004 after her husband entered into another relationship. But the writer was anything but distraught about the split, especially given her financial stability. Referring to the success she’d enjoyed, Wilson told The Daily Telegraph in 2018, “It’s much easier not to be bitter and fed-up when you are doing nicely.”

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Despite her private reputation, Wilson had also previously opened up about her failed relationship in a 2017 chat with the same British newspaper. She admitted, “My marriage was okay, but my ex-husband and I didn’t have an enormous amount in common.” Wilson also revealed that she and Millar are still very much civil with each other.

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The unhappy marriage that Wilson witnessed as a youngster also shaped Wilson’s own relationship. She added, “My parents didn’t get on, they rowed a lot, but in those days you stuck together even if you didn’t have much in common. I always hoped I’d have a lovely peaceful marriage because my parents didn’t, but perhaps that made me too determined.”

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However, in April 2020 it became clear that a lack of common ground and old-fashioned views weren’t the only obstacles in Wilson’s marriage. Indeed, the writer surprised everyone, apart from those who knew her personally, during an interview with The Guardian. For she told the magazine that she was, in fact, gay.

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Wilson was being interviewed to promote Love Frankie, her 111th publication. The children’s book sees a young female protagonist fall head over heels for a girl in her school. It’s one of the few times that the author has included a gay character in her work. And Wilson appeared to sense that this was the perfect opportunity to reveal all about her own sexuality.

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In a candid chat, Wilson revealed she’d put her “heart and soul” into the book. And she acknowledged that it “would shine a little light on my own private life.” The writer then told The Guardian that she’d been in a relationship with a woman named Trish since the collapse of her marriage nearly two decades ago.

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But although Wilson had kept this romance a secret from the general public, she was far more open with those in her social circle. The author said, “I’ve never really been in any kind of closet. It would be such old news for anybody that has ever known anything much about me.”

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“Even the vaguest acquaintance knows perfectly well that we are a couple,” Wilson continued. So did the much-loved author face any objections from those who eventually learned the truth about her sexuality? Well, Wilson states that the only person who had a problem with it was her very own mother.

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However, Wilson was no doubt expecting such a reaction considering her mother’s previous attitudes towards the writer’s nearest and dearest. The Dame went on to add that this response “wasn’t too devastating for me because my mum cordially hated my ex-husband. She didn’t really approve of any of my friends.”

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Wilson had previously been criticized for her lack of representation when it came to the LGBTQ community. However, the author insists that there was a very valid reason why her books rarely addressed gay issues. She argued that her stories tended to focus on characters with troubles – and she never felt the need to discuss an area she didn’t see as a problem.

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The trans community, in particular, also took umbrage with comments Wilson made in a previous interview with The Daily Telegraph. When asked about the prospect of including a trans character in her books, she replied, “If there was a really strong reason for me wanting to write about a trans child, then possibly. But I wouldn’t want people to think I’d jumped on the bandwagon just because it’s current and in the news.”

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Wilson continued, “If only everybody could be and act exactly the way they want to but not actually try to change themselves physically, I think that would be easier. Some people, right from the time that they are toddlers, are aware that something is wrong and they wish that they could be the other sex.”

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“But I’m also aware that some children feel strongly for a while and then they change their minds,” Wilson added. “I think it’s a decision that has to be left a while until you are utterly mature and utterly certain you know all the actual consequences.” Some trans activists believed that Wilson was being ignorant about an issue that may be affecting many of her readers.

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In her chat with The Guardian, Wilson also made it clear that Love Frankie isn’t specifically targeted toward gay teens. The writer claimed that it’s a “truthful, honest book about a girl falling in love with another girl… It’s aimed at all teenagers who have ever worried because they haven’t fallen in love, or they have fallen in love.”

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Wilson also has little interest in becoming a heroine for any readers trying to deal with their own sexuality. She added, “I don’t think that girls would ever want a gray-haired, wrinkly writer as a role model if they were wanting to feel good about maybe being gay. I’m sure they could find much more glamorous examples.”

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In fact, Wilson seems much more comfortable with the label that one of her fellow writers gave her in a discussion about her gay relationship. The friend told the author, “I don’t think you are a lesbian, I think you are a Trishian.” Wilson admitted to The Guardian, “I think that really sums me up.”

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Wilson went on to confess that she was always “a bit of an odd one out” even when she was growing up in Somerset back in the post-war era. She told the magazine that she didn’t get butterflies about any boys or girls at the time. The writer added, “But you just never know what is lurking inside you.”

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The now proud “Trishian” also revealed that her later-life relationship very nearly saved her life. Wilson had suffered from kidney problems for many years and was undergoing dialysis treatment when doctors placed her on an organ transplant waiting list. Her partner Trish volunteered to donate her own kidney, but sadly the pair didn’t prove to be a match.

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Wilson quipped, “It’s funny we are compatible in every way apart from our blood type.” Luckily, the author and her partner managed to find another way around the problem, an intriguing swapping method with an anonymous couple. Trish instead donated her healthy kidney to another individual in need. This unknown person’s partner then donated hers to Wilson.

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“It was so special to us and so private,” Wilson said about the slightly unorthodox life-saving process. Sadly, this wasn’t the first major health scare that the author had suffered. Several years previously, she’d experienced heart failure and was subsequently fitted with a pacemaker-type device known as a cardioverter defibrillator.

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Thankfully, despite her various health problems, Wilson has managed to maintain her career and all-round busy lifestyle. She now resides in a country house with Trish in the English county of Sussex. Wilson was particularly impressed with the property’s ceiling-high bookshelves on her first visit. She told The Guardian that the house seemed like “it would be especially for us. And so far it has jolly well proved that. It is a delight.”

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Alongside the huge library boasting thousands of books, Wilson’s home also features a “most eccentric room.” This is where the writers stores her vast toy collection which contains dolls, a rocking horse and even a mannequin. Wilson was keen to state that she doesn’t play with these things, adding, “I’m not completely dotty!”

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And Wilson’s work ethic remains just as strong in her seventies as it ever was. The author claims that she won’t get out of bed until she’s penned no fewer than 500 words. This unusual practice helps Wilson keep up her impressive routine of publishing two novels every single year.

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Wilson concluded the interview by remarking that she’s “perfectly happily settled in my ways and in old age.” The writer, who was working on a Great Exhibition-era historical book at the time, added, “Maybe I’ve just been greedy. I’ve had one kind of life, then I’ve had another kind of life. This is just the way I am.”

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