Daily Mail feature writer, speaker, author, mother and now housemate to her 97-year-old father, Tessa Cunningham juggles her highly successful writing career with running a chaotic household that spans three generations. Her memoir 'Take Me Home' was published in 2012.
To book Tessa Cunningham for your next event, contact us today.
Read more about Tessa Cunningham
Tessa Cunningham was leading a perfectly normal life as a (usually) happy (often harassed) mother of two teenage daughters. She loved her job as a feature writer for 'The Daily Mail', she loved her family even more but she took both for granted. Then one spring day in 2007 everything changed. She discovered that she had breast cancer. She also discovered her husband was having an affair. Suddenly nothing in her life was normal or predictable any more. She ranted, she raved, she lost her breast and her hair and she cried an awful lot. When finally it was all over, she started trying to put her life back together again (minus her husband.) but she was so angry, sad and frightened that she wondered if she would ever be happy again, and then something else totally unexpected happened. In the summer of 2010 her widowed father, Jim, fell and broke his hip. It was obvious he could no longer live alone. Overnight – and just as her daughters were leaving home for university - Tessa found herself with a 95-year-old lodger. It seemed like the last straw. Yet in caring for her livewire father, Tessa found herself experiencing the first glimmer of happiness as he began to teach her the true value of contentment.
Tessa has proved it is possible to find joy in the most unexpected places after great personal trauma. Most of all, living with her dad with all its ups and downs has convinced her that it’s time to rethink our attitude to the elderly and their care. Tessa Cunningham can talk from personal experience and with disarming frankness and humour about issues key to women: marriage break down, breast cancer (from diagnosis to remission) and caring for an elderly parent. She can talk about everything from commissioning a celebrity hairdresser to make her wig to the evening she ended up in a police cell.
Educated at a convent school followed by St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she read English, Tessa has been working as a journalist since 1982. After a stint on a local evening paper in Sheffield, she joined 'The Sun' under legendary editor Kelvin McKenzie where she worked first as a news reporter, then a TV reporter and finally a feature writer. She swapped the mayhem of tight deadlines and office screaming matches for dirty nappies and sleepless nights when her first daughter was born in 1991 and has worked from home ever since. She has been a feature writer for The Daily Mail since 1998. Tessa’s thought provoking book, 'Take Me Home', about life with her sometimes exasperating, always entertaining father has been described as ‘funny, touching and inspirational.’