Five things you need to know about Trish Cooke

As we announce Trish Cooke as our first Writer in Residence, we’ve put together some essential facts you really should know about the multi award-winning playwright and children’s book writer.

1. She has written one of the 100 best children’s books of all time

In 1994 Trish wrote the children’s book So Much, which captured the joy of being a baby in a large extended family and was illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt). So Much was critically acclaimed and won the Smarties Book Prize; the Kurt Maschler Award and the W H Smith and She Magazine Award. The book was voted one of the 100 best children’s books by Time Out in 2016.

2. She is the definition of a polymath

Trish has built a successful career across multiple art-forms – from being a TV presenter to a writer for radio and theatre. In 1988 Trish was awarded the Thames TV Theatre Writers Award and was writer-in-residence at Liverpool Playhouse. Then between 1988 and 1996 Trish was a presenter and scriptwriter on Playdays (BBC). She has also written several plays for BBC Radio, including a mini-series called Unspoken.

So Much by Trish Cooke. Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

So Much by Trish Cooke. Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

3. She sees her genre-crossing achievements as a survival tactic

Trish has commented that her genre-defying success is actually borne out of a reluctance across both the media and arts industries to commission Black writers.

Trish has said:
“You are allowed to get so far and then no further. My survival tactic in order not to give up or get bitter about it is basically to move from publishing, to TV to theatre to radio to film. When I move around I am able to take a fresh spin on things and it helps me to get motivated again. I can’t lie it has been tough but I will keep on.” (Taken from a 2018 interview with the DASSA)

4. Her writing is inspired by everyday life (and people-watching!)

Trish’s ideas for script writing are usually inspired by everyday life and people-watching is something that she’s always enjoyed.

Trish has said:
“I am always observing and listening, so if I am writing a book or a script, I end up using real life as a starting point to create my characters.The truth gives me a reason to write it. Where it goes from there is something else.”

She is the Queen of Pantomime

Over the years, Trish has written a string of five-star pantomimes for Theatre Royal Stratford East, including Cinderella (2008), which was the first panto ever to be nominated for an Olivier Award and Rapunzel (2017/18), which broke all box office records at the same theatre and won the Best British Pantomime Award 2018 for Best Musical Supervision.

The Writer in Residence post is an 18-month residency given to a writer already working in the field. During the course of her residency Trish will support the Bush Theatre’s literary and programming teams by mentoring emerging artists as well as writing a new full length play.