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Louise Rennison lives in Brighton, the San Francisco of England (apart from the sun, Americans, the Golden Gate Bridge, and earthquakes). Although she lives in Brighton in reality, in her mind she lives somewhere exotic with a manservant called Juan. This is because she lost her mind after Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging catapulted her into the spotlight of fame.
Louise based several episodes in the books on her own childhood in Leeds, where she was bought 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 Kaymer the German teacher and Angus himself are not entirely fictional!
When Louise was 15, her parents decided to emigrate to Wairakei in New Zealand. Its main claim to fame is that it had 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 (playleader, dental nurse etc) and traveling, 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.
Her first one-woman autobiographical show, Stevie Wonder Felt My Face, won great acclaim and awards at the Edinburgh Festival in the 80s and millions watched the subsequent BBC2 special. Since then, Louise has continued to perform her own shows (Bob Marley's Gardener Sold My Friend and Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.) She works frequently for Radio 4 being a regular contributor to Woman's Hour and The John Peel Show. She has also written for and with many well-known comedians (and Russ Abbott).
Louise's research for her books requires many hours hanging around with 14-year-olds which is, as she says, "Brilliant - the best fun known to humanity. It's all boys, make-up, laughing and, er, that's it.”
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