Born in 1958, Helen Fielding began life in the town of Morley, Yorkshire, where her father was the managing director of a fabric mill. After attending Wakefield Girls High School, she gained a place at St Anne’s College, Oxford to study English, graduating in 1979.

 She began working in the production department of the BBC, contributing to programmes such as Nationwide and Play School, before directing segments for the annual comedy fundraiser, Comic Relief. Her work focused mainly on the plight of refugees in Sudan, and provided her with a wealth of knowledge and experience with which to write her first book, Cause Celeb, which was published in 1994. A previous romantic novel submitted to Mills & Boon was sadly rejected.

 After eleven years at the BBC, Fielding moved to the Sunday Times in 1990, where she began writing a personal column. But following excessive editorial interference, she subsequently resigned. In 1995 she began writing in a similar vein for The Independent, the original home of Bridget Jones:

"It didn't really start as a satire. I was just writing an anonymous newspaper column, exaggerating funny things that happened in normal life, to pay the bills while I wrote my second rather serious novel. Had I thought so many people were going to read it, I never would have dared write it."

The next step was to turn the column into a book: Bridget Jones's diary was published in 1996.

Fielding later transferred her musings to the pages of The Telegraph, and in 1999 published the eagerly awaited sequel to Ms Jones’s first work, The Edge of Reason.

 In 2001 Bridget Jones earned her first outing on the big screen, in a film version starring Renee Zellwegger, who resumed the role for the sequel in 2004. Fielding contributed to the screenplay for both films.

 Following the publication of her fourth novel, Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination in 2003, Fielding resurrected Bridget Jones for The Independent in 2005.

 She met American television writer Kevin Curran in 1999, and the couple went on to have two children. Fielding now lives a well-deserved high life, dividing her time between London and Los Angeles.

Helen Fielding profile at The Guardian

Bridget Jones Online Archive