Louise at "A Midsummer Tights Dream" Book Launch in 2012
Louise based several episodes in the books on her own childhood in Leeds, where she was brought up in a three-bedroomed council house with her mum, dad, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin. And characters such as Elvis the school caretaker, Wet Lindsey, Herr Kamyer the German teacher and Angus himself are not entirely fictional!
When Louise was fifteen her parents decided to emigrate to Wairakei in New Zealand. Wairakei’s main claim to fame is that it has some of the most violent geothermal activity in the world. “When we had Sunday lunch in the back garden the tables heaved and lurched around, and the trees went backwards and forwards. That was because underneath the table, underneath the earth’s surface, thousands of cubic feet of molten steam was trying to get out… and kill us!” Louise’s dad had his shoes blown off by a rogue bore.
In her twenties, Louise lived in Notting Hill Gate, “in a one-bedroomed flat owned by Roxy Music, which was quite cheap… because five of us were sharing it.” After an assortment of jobs (play leader, dental nurse) and travelling, Louise rekindled a childhood dream and enrolled on a performing arts course in Brighton. However, as John Lennon famously wailed, ‘genius is pain’ and her career as a performance artist got off to a shaky start. After an audition in which Louise was asked to be an embryo, her tutor remarked, “You are obviously a very intelligent girl, Louise, but you must never go on stage again. Your performance made me feel physically sick.” Despite this, and displaying astonishing Northern grit, Louise continued to perform.
Louise Rennison was a beloved English author and comedian, who liked nothing more than to make people smile through her storytelling.
Louise lived in Brighton, a place that she liked to think of as the San Francisco of the South Coast. Which is sad as it is nothing like San Francisco, being mainly pebbles and large people in tiny swimming knickers who have gone bright red in the sun. Although she lived in Brighton in reality, in her mind she lived somewhere exotic with a manservant called Juan, especially after Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging catapulted her into the spotlight of fame.
Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging is the first book in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, written in a diary style. Georgia is fourteen and lives with her annoying parents, her three-year-old sister who says things like,
“Georgia did a big poo this morning” to prospective boyfriends and her half Scottish wildcat, Angus.
Georgia describes herself as having a HUGE nose and legs that make her look like she’s got hairy trousers on. She has to wear a beret to school and once went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive. She would, however, rather be blonde, have a smaller nose, slimmer eyebrows and a Sex God for a boyfriend.
Ten books in total, the bestselling Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series earned Louise several major awards, the title ‘Queen of Teen’ and a film deal for her first two books: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and ‘It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers!’.
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Bronze Award in 1999, and was named a Printz Honor Book in 2001
Her first one-woman autobiographical show, Stevie Wonder Felt My Face, won great acclaim and awards at the Edinburgh Festival in the eighties and millions watched the subsequent BBC2 special. Louise then continued to perform her own shows (Bob Marley’s Gardener Sold My Friend and Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.) She worked frequently for Radio 4 and was a regular contributor to Woman’s Hour and The John Peel Show. She also wrote for and with many well-known comedians (and Russ Abbott).
Her latest book series, The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, follow teenage Tallulah as she heads to a prestigious performing arts school and gets her first taste of freedom. Dramatic antics, boys and snogging guaranteed! The final book in the series, The Taming of the Tights, was released to critical acclaim in 2013.
In total, Louise’s books have been translated into 30 languages worldwide.
Louise’s research for her books required many hours hanging around with fourteen-year-olds which is, as she said, “Brilliant – the best fun known to humanity. It’s all boys, make-up, laughing and, er, that’s it.”
Our aim is for Louise’s legacy to inspire the next generation of comedic talent in the UK.