Journalist and novelist Helen Fielding, the second of four children born to a mill manager and a homemaker in West Yorkshire, England, received her degree in journalism in 1979 from St. Anne’s College at Oxford University. After graduating, Fielding worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for ten years, leading to her investigative concentration on famine relief work throughout the world. In the early 1990’s, Fielding spent time in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Sudan, producing documentaries for the charity Comic Relief.
Her experience forms the basis of Cause Celeb, a novel based on the life-threatening issues facing African refugees from the distanced perspective of privileged, famous people searching for a pet cause. The novel is told from the humorous point of view of Rosie Richardson, a twenty-something publicist disillusioned with London’s social scene. Fielding’s journalistic background allows her to relate the facts of the political and cultural plight of Africa while implying a satiric undertone in the novel; the result is a sometimes disturbing, darkly comic indictment of celebrity aid relief.
During her work with the BBC and Comic Relief, Fielding submitted a manuscript for a romance novel to publisher Mills and Boon, which promptly rejected the piece. She attempted a script for a television situation comedy based on the life of a single woman in the London publicity circuit, but she abandoned the project. Her focus shifted to writing a novel about the social conditions of the Caribbean region, supporting herself financially in the meantime by publishing freelance work. Fielding’s feature articles and food reviews in British newspapers eventually led to a weekly column for The Independent in 1995, a series of self-contained diary entries under the nom de plume of Bridget Jones, a single woman presumably in her twenties or...
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