MEET LOUISE

Hi there,

In response to your questions to the story behind Georgia Nicholson, here's a bit on how it began:

I used to live in Notting Hill, London (it wasn't so posh, then), and I wrote and performed a one-woman show called Stevie Wonder Touched My Face about living in Notting Hill Gate and what it was like being a girl. Growing up. It started off when I was little, and at home, and then in London. It was a really big hit in England. I toured with it all over for about four years. It was even on television. As a consequence of the play, I got lots of radio work and offered lots of things.

And one of the things that I did was to write for a London newspaper. I used to write articles on just everything I liked really. It was quite good fun. I wrote an article called "Dating Over 35" and how pointless it is, because if you’re on your own after thirty-five, that’s because there is something wrong with you.

Anyways, I got a call from Picadilly Press and they said, "We loved your article, it was so funny, would you like to write a book?" And I thought, "Ooh, how sophisticated!" And she said, "No, no, no, we’d like you to write a teenage girl’s diary." And I said, "Oh, I’m quite flattered, but why me?" And she said, "Well, we read your article and we thought that it was so self-obsessed and so childish that you could really do a good job."

And they really did just let me write it; they didn’t interfere, and I could just write it and write it as it came. The main character Georgia is really based on my experiences of when I was fourteen. I wrote the book to make myself laugh. I always wrote what I remembered making me laugh when I was that age. I didn't attempt to teach. I didn't attempt to do anything except I wanted Georgia to be a decent person. I wanted her to be someone who is a bit stupid and self-obsessed and difficult and funny and rude, and a bit jealous and all those other things. But I wanted her to have a good heart.

I had a boy say to me about Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging, "I really wished I would have read this book years ago, because then I would have realized how mad girls were. I wouldn't have wasted all this time thinking they were normal."

Louise


LOUISE RENNISON'S BIO

Louise Rennison lives in Brighton, the San Francisco of England (apart from the sun, Americans, the Golden Gate Bridge, and earthquakes). Although she lives in Brighton in reality, in her mind she lives somewhere exotic with a manservant called Juan. This is because she lost her mind after Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging catapulted her into the spotlight of fame.

Louise based several episodes in the books on her own childhood in Leeds, where she was bought up in a three-bedroomed council house with her mum, dad, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin. And characters such as Elvis the school-caretaker, Wet Lindsey, Herr Kaymer the German teacher and Angus himself are not entirely fictional!

When Louise was 15, her parents decided to emigrate to Wairakei in New Zealand. Its main claim to fame is that it had some of the most violent geothermal activity in the world. "When we had Sunday lunch in the back garden, the tables heaved and lurched around, and the trees went backwards and forwards. That was because underneath the table, underneath the earth's surface, thousands of cubic feet of molten steam was trying to get out … and kill us!" Louise's dad had his shoes blown off by a rogue bore.

In her twenties, Louise lived in Notting Hill Gate, "in a one bedroomed flat owned by Roxy Music which was quite cheap… because five of us were sharing it." After an assortment of jobs (playleader, dental nurse etc) and traveling, Louise rekindled a childhood dream and enrolled on a Performing Arts course in Brighton. However, as John Lennon famously wailed, 'genius is pain' and her career as a performance artist got off to a shaky start. After an audition in which Louise was asked to be an embryo, her tutor remarked, "You are obviously a very intelligent girl, Louise, but you must never go on stage again. Your performance made me feel physically sick." Despite this, and displaying astonishing Northern grit, Louise continued to perform.

Her first one-woman autobiographical show, Stevie Wonder Felt My Face, won great acclaim and awards at the Edinburgh Festival in the 80s and millions watched the subsequent BBC2 special. Since then, Louise has continued to perform her own shows (Bob Marley's Gardener Sold My Friend and Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.) She works frequently for Radio 4 being a regular contributor to Woman's Hour and The John Peel Show. She has also written for and with many well-known comedians (and Russ Abbott).

Louise's research for her books requires many hours hanging around with 14-year-olds which is, as she says, "Brilliant - the best fun known to humanity. It's all boys, make-up, laughing and, er, that's it.”