After being educated at a series of thrusting girls’ schools, Sophie Kinsella – the nom de plume of the megastar author born Madeleine Townley – studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, where she met her husband on her first night of university and married at 21.
Like her most famous heroine, recovering spendthrift Becky Bloomwood of the ‘Shopaholic’ series, Kinsella worked as a financial journalist before getting distracted by reading Joanna Trollope and Mary Wesley on her commute and thinking, “I could do that.” Her books have since sold more than 40 million copies and been translated into 60 languages.
She published seven novels under her married name, Madeleine Wickham, before moving over to romance, and taking a jazzier nom de plume combining her middle name and her mother’s maiden name. Her first novel as Kinsella, submitted to her Wickham publishers in secret, was a smash hit. The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (now better now as Confessions of a Shopaholic after its film adaptation starring Isla Fisher) spawned a 10-strong series.
Kinsella published two further Shopaholic novels before revealing her identity to her publishers in 2003 during the publication of a standalone novel, Can You Keep A Secret?, now being turned into a film starring Alexandra Daddario. She has written a further nine standalone novels for adults, a young adult novel, Finding Audrey, and a children’s series called Mummy Fairy and Me, based on bedtime stories she made up for her daughters (she is mother to five children).
Kinsella is a regular on social media, but her bond with her fans is best demonstrated in the intimate, and very English tradition of her annual Christmas card competition, where she chooses 100 readers around the world to receive a personal card. In 2020, she opened this up to a virtual card for the pandemic. Her world is warm, funny – and bestselling. Here are five titles from her backlist to get to know her better.