"It is a truth universally acknowledged that as soon as one part of your life starts looking up, another falls to pieces." -- Helen Fielding
Helen Fielding (born 19 February 1958) is an English novelist and screenwriter, best known as the creator of the fictional character Bridget Jones, a franchise that chronicles the life of a thirtysomething single woman in London as she tries to make sense of life and love.
Her novels Bridget Jones's Diary and The Edge of Reason have been published in forty countries and sold over 15 million copies. The two movies of the same name have achieved worldwide success. Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century, in a survey conducted by The Guardian newspaper.
"Dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second."
Fielding (born 19 February 1958) grew up in Morley, West Yorkshire, a textile town on the outskirts of Leeds in the north of England and attended Wakefield Girls High School. She lived next to a Factory that made the fabric for miners’ donkey jackets, where her father was Managing Director. Her father died in 1982. Her mother, Nellie, still lives in Yorkshire and she has three siblings, Jane, David and Richard. Fielding studied English at St. Anne's College, Oxford and was part of the Oxford revue at the 1978 Edinburgh Festival, where she formed a continuing friendship with a group of comic performers and writers including Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson.
Fielding began work at the BBC in 1979 as a regional researcher on the BBC news magazine Nationwide and then worked as a Production Manager on various children’s and light entertainment shows. In 1985 Fielding produced a live satellite broadcast from a refugee camp in Eastern Sudan for the launch of Comic Relief. She wrote and produced documentaries in Africa for the first two Comic Relief fundraising broadcasts. In 1989 she was a researcher on the Thames TV documentary “Where Hunger is a Weapon” about the Southern Sudan rebel war. These experiences formed the basis for her first novel Cause Celeb.
From 1990 - 99 she worked as a journalist and columnist on several London newspapers including the Sunday Times, The Independent and The Telegraph. Her next work Bridget Jones's Diary began its life as an anonymous column in The Independent in 1995. The success of the column lead to two novels and their movie adaptations. Fielding was part of the scriptwriting team for both.
Fielding divides her time between London and Los Angeles. She and The Simpsons writer/executive producer Kevin Curran began a relationship around 1999 and Fielding has two children by him: Dash, born in February 2004, and Romy born in July 2006. However, she and Curran broke up in 2009.
Fielding’s first novel, Cause Celeb was published in 1994 to great reviews but limited sales. She was struggling to make ends meet while working on her second novel, a satire about cultural divides in the Caribbean when she was approached by London’s The Independent newspaper to write a column as herself about single life in London. Fielding rejected this idea as too embarrassing and exposing and offered instead to create an imaginary, exaggerated, comic character. Writing anonymously, she felt freed up to be honest about the preoccupations of single girls in their thirties. It quickly acquired a following, her identity was revealed and her publishers asked her to replace her novel about the Caribbean by a novel on Bridget Jones’s Diary. The hardback was published in 1996 to good reviews but modest sales. Word of mouth spread, however and the paperback, published in 1997 went straight to the top of the bestseller chart, stayed there for over six months and went on to become a worldwide bestseller. The diary - starting each day with its signature list of calories, alcohol and cigarette intake, is credited with spawning a new confessional literary genre in the form of Chick Lit.Fielding continued her columns in The Independent, and then The Daily Telegraph until 1997, publishing a second Bridget novel The Edge of Reason in November 1999. The movie of Bridget Jones’s Diary was released in 2000 and the movie of the sequel in 2004. In 2005 Fielding began the further adventures of Bridget Jones in The Independent. A third Bridget Jones movie is planned and Fielding is currently at work on the book and lyrics of the musical stage version of Bridget Jones’s Diary..
Fielding credits Bridget’s success to the fact that it is about more than just single life, but “the gap between how we feel we are expected to be and how we actually are” which she has described as an alarming symptom of the media age.
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth. Written by Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding. Directed by Sharon McGuire. Produced by Working Title Films.
The Edge of Reason (2004), Starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth. Written by Adam Brooks, Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding. Directed by Beeban Kidron. Produced by Working Title Films.