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Joanne Harris (OBE, FRSL) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche .

Since then, she has written 19 more novels, plus novellas, short stories, game scripts, the libretti for two short operas, several screenplays, a stage musical (with Howard Goodall) and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, has honorary doctorates in literature from the universities of Sheffield and Huddersfield, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Betty Trask Award, the Prima Donna Prize  and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science, as well as for the Fragrance Foundation awards for perfume and perfume journalism (for which she also received an award in 2017). She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.

She is a passionate advocate for authors’ rights, and was the Chair of the Society of Authors (SOA) for four years. She is currently a member of the Board of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as: “mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system”, although she also enjoys obfuscation, sleaze, rebellion, witchcraft, armed robbery, tea and biscuits. She is not above bribery and would not necessarily refuse an offer involving perfume, diamonds,  foreign travel or pink champagne. She works from a shed in her garden, plays in the band she first joined when she was 16, and lives with her husband in a little wood in Yorkshire.

Awards and Honours

This is a list of awards and honours I’ve been awarded over the years.

Creative Freedom Award: 2000

Whitaker Gold Award: 2000

Salon du Livre Gourmand: 2000
Scripter Award (2001)

Author of the Year: 2002

WH Smith Award: 2002

Premio Grinzane Cavour: 2003

Golden Ladle: 2005

Glenfiddich Award: 2006
Hon. doctorate: Huddersfield University (D. Litt) 2009
Hon. doctorate: Sheffield University (D. Litt) 2010

Whitaker Platinum Award: 2012

MBE: 2013

Hon. fellowship of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge: 2017

Jasmine Award: 2017

Pink News Ally of the Year: 2022

OBE: 2022

Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature: 2022


If you’re writing an article, and need a rights-cleared photograph to use, please don’ t just screengrab something ten years old from the Web. Contact me at enquiries@joanne-harris.co.uk, and I’ll send you something up-to-date!



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