Bestselling English novelist Josephine Cox dies at 82

By July 21, 2020Authors, News

Josephine Cox, bestselling author of family saga novels has died at the age of 82.

Statement by her publisher HarperCollins said that Jo Cox died “peacefully” on Friday 17th July 2020. Jo had authored over 60 books over her 30 year career and sold over 20m copies.

“Josephine has left a legacy, not only through her stories that touched the hearts of millions, but as a woman who led the way for others by forging a path from humble beginnings to the top of the bestseller lists,” said HarperCollins executive publisher Kimberley Young, describing Cox as “an utter force of nature who inspired all around her”. She explained how Cox responded to every fan who wrote to her, “creating an army of readers who were as loyal to her and she was to them”.


Josephine (Jo) Cox was born in Blackburn in the UK, and was one of 10 children. She often spoke of the poverty in which she and her family she grew up in. “We hardly had enough money for food and clothes, let alone books,” she told the Guardian news in 2008. “But I found a little green leather book of Wordsworth’s poems on a tip. I hid it so nobody could take it. It was very precious to me.”

She married at 16 years old to her husband Ken, and had two sons. Cox went on to study at college when the children started school, and worked hard to gain a place at Cambridge University, which she unfortunately was forced to turn down as she couldn’t move away from her family. Josephine Cox eventually became a teacher, and wrote her first novel, Her Father’s Sins, in only six weeks while she was recovering from an illness in hospital.

“Every one of us has something deep inside that we would love to do, and then life takes over and you don’t get to do it. But when I was teaching, I was confined to bed in hospital because I was very ill,” she told the Guardian. “One of my friends brought me an A4 book and half a dozen pens because I was always talking about ‘that book’ I was going to write about growing up in Blackburn. I wrote the book in six weeks in the hospital. It was a culmination of everything that was in me from the age of eight.”

HarperCollins chief executive Charlie Redmayne said she was  “one of our most beloved writers”.

“Publishing is built on authors such as Josephine Cox, writers who know instinctively what their readers want and work diligently, and with the utmost dedication, to deliver it,” he said.

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