Who is Meg Cabot?
As the author of ‘The Princess Diaries’, Meg Cabot takes her starry-eyed and romantic young readers on an engrossing journey through the world of princesses, ghosts, and true love. Adept at creating magic with her words, Cabot has several No. 1 New York Times bestsellers to her credit. As a young girl she became obsessed with princesses and always wanted to be one. She was an avid reader who read and reread fairytales till she was convinced that she was actually a princess living the life of a normal girl. Gifted with a vivid imagination and creativity, she amused herself by writing stories during her free time. In spite of the fact that she loved to write, she had never considered pursuing writing as a full time profession; her entry into the literary world was purely by chance. She continued writing as a hobby even after she started working and decided to try to get her work published. She faced only rejections for the first seven years of her literary career before a publisher finally decided to publish her debut novel ‘Where Roses Grow Wild’. After publishing several other romance novels, she tried her hand at writing a novel for younger readers. ‘The Princess Diaries’ became her claim to fame and won her numerous awards. Today, the world famous author has more than 15 million copies of her books in print.
Childhood & Early Life
Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. She had a difficult childhood as many members of her family including her father, grandmother, and uncle were alcoholics. However, she had a good relationship with her mother who encouraged her daughter’s artistic pursuits.
She was an avid reader who devoured comics, science fiction and fairy tales. She loved princess stories as they provided a means of escapism from the harsh realities of her childhood. During high school she began writing stories as a hobby.
She went to the University of Indiana to study art and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1991.
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She initially planned on becoming an illustrator and moved to New York City in order to pursue this dream. However, she found employment as an assistant manager of the freshman dormitory at the New York University.
She continued writing as a hobby even as she worked full-time. At around this time she decided to try her hand at getting published and sent her manuscripts to several publishers. For years she was met with rejection and disappointment.
Her first novel ‘Where Roses Grow Wild’ was published under her pseudonym Patricia Cabot in 1998. It was a historical romance. She followed the novel with two other romances ‘Portrait of My Heart’ and ‘An Improper Proposal’ published in 1999.
Around this time she also began working on a series on novels for younger adults called ‘The Princess Diaries’ in the chick-lit genre. The books are loosely based on her own experiences when her widowed mother began dating one of Meg’s teachers and later married him.
The first book in the series, ‘The Princess Diaries’ which revolved around the adventures of a girl named Mia who discovers that she is a princess, was rejected 17 times before being published by Harper Collins in 2000. The book became an instant hit and was a New York Times bestseller.
The book was adapted into a movie of the same name in 2001 by Whitney Houston and starred newcomer Anne Hathaway as the protagonist. The film was a big hit and made Cabot a celebrity.
Harper Collins signed Cabot to write at least three more books in ‘The Princess Diaries’ series. Her next book ‘The Princess Diaries Volume II: Princess in the Spotlight’ was released in 2001.
At about the same time she started working on ‘The Princess Diaries’, Cabot also wrote a series of six novels in what was called ‘The Mediator Series’ (2000-05). The series revolved around a teenage girl, Susannah who is a mediator.
Over the next decade she published several more volumes in ‘The Princess Diaries’ series, all of which became very popular among teenage girls and young women. The final book in the series, ‘The Princess Diaries, Volume X: Forever Princess’ was released in 2009.
In addition to these series, the prolific writer also published several other series of novels like ‘All American Girl Series’, ‘Avalon High series’, ‘The Airhead Trilogy’, and ‘Heather Wells Series’.
Her best known work is ‘The Princess Diaries’ series which has been published in more than 40 countries and has been made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. The first book in the series was a bestseller which remained on the New York Times Bestseller’s list for 38 weeks.
Awards & Achievements
She won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best British Isles Historical Romance for ‘An Improper Proposal’ in 1999.
She won Evergreen Young Adult Book Award for ‘The Princess Diaries’ series. This series also won the Tennessee Volunteer State TASL Book Award.
Personal Life & Legacy
She is married to financial writer and poet Benjamin D. Egnatz from 1993. She decided not to have any children as she herself had a difficult childhood. The couple has two cats.
She has a keen interest in philanthropic activities and has worked with Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Starlight Children's Foundation to mentor seriously and terminally ill children. She also donates proceeds from the sales of her books to various charities.