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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the novelist Josephine Cox. Josephine Cox is one of Britain's most popular authors. She became an overnight publishing sensation at the relatively late age of 43 and has written 34 books which have sold 15 million copies worldwide. Now, her publishers print 'bestseller' on the cover of each new work, they're so confident of its success.

But it was by no means a straightforward route to fame and fortune. She was born in Blackburn during World War II and grew up in dire poverty. As a child, she used to charge her school friends a penny for her to tell them a story, she and her siblings slept six to a bed, and they used to drink water out of jam-jars. One of her teachers recognised her talents and prophesied her future success as a writer. But it was only decades later when, convalescing after an illness, she had the time to pick up a pen and write. Her first book was accepted immediately and she has been writing two books a year ever since.

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