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Chocolat (Harris) - Author Bio

Author Bio 
Birth—July 3, 1964
Where—Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
Education—B.A. and M.A., Cambridge University, England
Currently—lives in Yorkshire, England


Joanne Harris, part French and part English, found the inspiration for her novel Chocolat in her own family history and folklore—herself having lived in a sweet-shop and being the great-granddaughter of a Frenchwoman known locally as a witch and a healer who once disguised herself as an apparition of the Virgin Mary to shock the local priest. Harris, who studied at St. Catharine's College in Cambridge where she received a BA and an MA in French and German, teaches French in an English school and lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and daughter. (From the publisher.)

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I’m a chocoholic! I admit it! I eat it all the time. Almost on a daily basis…but not quite.” Joanne Harris starts the day with drinking chocolate made from milk and proper chocolate. “It’s a stimulant. A bit like coffee. But it tastes better to me.” She doesn’t diet because “I’m not a nice person if I’m doing things like that.”

Harris, who is half French, grew up in her grandparents’ corner sweetshop in Yorkshire, in the north of England. Her mother had just come over from France and didn’t speak English. Joanne grew up speaking French, and still speaks it with her own daughter at home. “Most of the family that I have contact with is French.... I’ve been more or less surrounded by French culture since I was born.” She associates chocolate with France, big family reunions and Easter parades. “A lot of members of my family ended up creeping into this story.”

She lives with her husband, small daughter and several cats in the small Yorkshire mining community of Barnsley where she grew up. Harris feels that small communities the world over have much in common, and Barnsley sometimes felt like Lansquenet in its suspicion of the outsider — “because we were a French family, because my mother moved to England without knowing any English and because we were always those funny people at end o’ t’road...." (From Barnes & Noble.)




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