Life according to Jilly Cooper

The inimitable Jilly Cooper may be known for her racy novels, but she started her writing life as a marriage columnist, meaning she has plenty to say on love, relationships and life’s biggest questions

Jilly Cooper Logo

On love and marriage

‘The secret to happy marriage is bedsprings creaking from laughter, not sex. Leo and I used to laugh ourselves sick. God, he was funny.’

- Speaking to The Sunday Times in 2015, after her husband Leo’s death

On the meaning of life

‘I always feel God is up there peeling a heavenly banana skin to throw under my feet. Whenever I'm happy, I always get terribly excited. You might as well be excited because life's such a bugger. But whenever I'm happy, I always start to shake waiting for something bad to happen. There's probably a tiger lurking under the piano.’

- Speaking to the London Evening Standard

On mothers

‘My mother never made me feel bad about myself, even though she had to buy a lot of material to make my dresses. I always knew she loved me very much. And we always had such a laugh together. She would call up and say: “Darling, isn't it wonderful. Virginia Woolf's just won Wimbledon.”’

- Speaking to The Independent in 1997

On money

‘My assistant, Pam, gives me pocket money when I go out. I might get £20 when I go up to London for the day to pay for taxis and drinks. We have a little float at home from which Pam gives me money. If I come back with any, she takes it back. I'm not very good with money. I'm always losing it.’

- Speaking to This is Money in 2006

On death

'When you get older you suddenly realise you don't have long left. You've got to get going. I've always wanted to read all the books in the world but I won't ever be able to. It's frightening because I've always thought I'm going to live forever, and I'm not. I'd like to write a good book, a proper good book. My mother always admired Margaret Drabble…’

- Speaking to the Guardian in 2011

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more