Joanne Harris (b.1964)
Joanne Harris, the popular author, was born to a French mother and an English father in her grandparents' sweet shop in Barnsley in 1964.
She was educated at Wakefield Girls High School and at Barnsley Sixth Form College, and read Modern and Medieval Languages at St Catharine's College, Cambridge.
Her first novel, The Evil Seed, published in 1989, and her second novel, Sleep, Pale Sister, published in 1993, met with little success. But her third novel, Chocolat, published in 1999, was a big hit. It reached No. 1 in the London Sunday Times bestseller list and was shortlisted for the 1999 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award. The film that was based on the book, starring Juliette Binoche, brought Harris worldwide fame.
Since then she has published several other successful novels, including Five Quarters of the Orange and Lollipop Shoes, and even a cookery book, The French Kitchen. Her latest novel, Runemarks, published in August 2007, is her first book for children and young adults.