Jacqueline Wilson, the British children’s author famed for her Tracy Beaker series, has come out as gay publicly at the age of 74.
It’s the first time she’s spoken to the media about her sexuality, and she revealed to The Guardian that she’s been “very happily” in a relationship and living with her partner Trish for the last 18 years.
Her decision to talk about her private life comes as the former children’s laureate readies her 111th book, Love Frankie, which is a teenage lesbian love story about tomboy Frankie and pretty girl Sally.
She told the newspaper that her relationship is “old news” to those who know her, and that the new novel would “shine a little light on [her] own private life”.
Wilson met Trish in her 50s at a party after the breakdown of her marriage.
“I’ve never really been in any kind of closet,” she says. “It would be such old news for anybody that has ever known anything much about me.
“Even the vaguest acquaintance knows perfectly well that we are a couple,” she adds.
Wilson says her mother was “appalled”, but that she also “cordially hated my ex-husband; she didn’t really approve of any of my friends.”
Speaking about why she hadn’t written more stories with LGBTQ characters, Wilson says she writes tales about children with problems, and she doesn’t see “any problem whatsoever with being gay”.
On the idea of being seen as a role model or mentor for teenagers grappling with their sexuality, she deadpans: “I don’t think that girls would ever want a grey-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.”
Love Frankie is due to be released in August, tackling other issues such as separation, bullying and sibling rivalry, as well as the central love story.
“It’s certainly not aimed at young gay teenagers, it’s aimed at all teenagers who have ever worried because they haven’t fallen in love, or they have fallen in love,” Wilson explains.