Siena College is pleased to honor Barbara Taylor Bradford, internationally renowned best-selling author and supporter of many charitable organizations.
Born in Leeds, England, Mrs. Bradford grew up surrounded by books. She credits her mother for influencing her love for language and reading. She remembers selling her first short story at age 10, for seven shillings and sixpence, and reading through all of the novels of Dickens and the Brontes by the age of 12. Determined to become a writer, she took a job as a typist for the Yorkshire Evening Post. Within a year, she graduated to the newsroom as a cub reporter. And two years later, she became the women's page editor, at 18 the youngest in England. By the time she was 20, she was working in London's famous Fleet Street, first as fashion editor on a women's magazine, and later as a feature writer, columnist and editor on a number of national magazines and newspapers, including the London Evening News.
After marrying American movie producer, Robert Bradford, she moved to the US. Here she wrote an award-winning, syndicated column on interior design, and a number of books on the same subject, in addition to books for children. Her determination to write fiction was rewarded in 1979 when she published her first novel, A Woman of Substance. It went instantly onto the New York Times Hardcover Best-Seller List, where it remained for three months. The paperback edition of this novel broke publishing records, remaining on the paperback bestseller lists for more than a year and on the New York Times Bestseller for 56 weeks. Now a classic, this debut novel has sold over twenty-five million copies worldwide, and according to Publisher's Weekly, is one of the top-ten bestsellers of all time. Nineteen more novels followed, all of which have been featured on the New York Times Bestseller Lists, and internationally. Altogether, more than 75 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide in 40 languages and more than 90 countries. Ten of these novels have been made into television miniseries, or movies-of-the-week by her husband, Robert Bradford. She has recently delivered Just Rewards, her 21st novel for publication in January of 2006.
In addition to maintaining a very disciplined writing schedule, Mrs. Bradford finds time to serve many charitable organizations. In 1999, she acted as ambassador for the March of Dimes; currently she is on the board of PAL (Police Athletic League), a charity for underprivileged children. She also supports the City-Meals-On-Wheels, Literacy Partners of New York City, and the New York Pops. She is also a trustee and director on the UK and US boards of PACT (Parents and Abducted Children Together).
Her talents and service have been widely recognized, garnering her a dizzying list of honors and awards. She has received recognition for her journalism, including two National Press Awards and the Matrix Award from the New York chapter of Women in Communications. In 1995, the Barbara Taylor Bradford Research Fellowship in Pediatric Leukemia was established, and she was recognized with the City of Hope's Spirit of Life Award. She was also honored with the Girls, Inc. "She Knows Where She's Going Award," the Police Athletic League Women of the Year Award, and the British Excellence Award, which was presented aboard the QE2. In 2003, Mrs. Bradford was inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America.
For her contributions to the arts, as well as to many non-profit organizations, Siena College recognizes Barbara Taylor Bradford with the honorary degree, Doctor of Letters.