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Author Spotlight: Neil Gaiman


Known for dark gothic tales enjoyed by all ages, Neil Gaiman, now fifty-five, is a British science fiction and fantasy author, graphic novelist, and screenwriter.

Early Interests

Born in Hampshire UK, Neil grew up reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Gene Wolfe, GK Chesterton, James Branch Cabell, Michael Moorcock, and Ursula K. LeGuin. As a kid, Gaiman loved libraries and often persuaded his parents to drop him off to the local library to spend the day.

Gaiman started out as a journalist in England. In 1984, he published his first book, a Duran Duran biography that took him only three months to write. His second book was another biography, this time of Douglas Adams called Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Companion.

A Start in Graphic Novels and Dark Fantasy

He collaborated with artist Dave McKan for an early graphic novel, Violent Cases. They also cocreated the series Black Orchid, which was published by DC Comics. Gaiman’s Sandman soon followed, a graphic novel series published under Vertigo spanning 75 issues and garnering several awards. Sandman also received the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, making it the only comic to receive a literary award.

Gaiman is the author of New York Times bestsellers Neverwhere (1995), Stardust (1999), American Gods (2001), Anansi Boys (2005), and Good Omens (cowritten with Terry Pratchett, 1990). He also wrote short story collections, Smoke and Mirrors (1998), and Fragile Things (2006).

Dark Fantasy for Younger Readers

While Gaiman’s work is generally dark, he has several collections and picture books for young readers: M is for Magic (2007); Interworld (2007), co-authored with Michael Reaves; The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (1997); The Wolves in the Walls (2003); Crazy Hair (2009), illustrated by Dave McKean; The Dangerous Alphabet (2008), illustrated by Gris Grimly; Blueberry Girl (2009); Instructions (2010), illustrated by Charles Vess; and Chu’s Day (2013), illustrated by Adam Rex.

One of Neil Gaiman’s more prolific works is Coraline, a dark fantasy about a young girl who just moved to a new neighborhood looking for a way to make her new life exciting. She enters a door within their house (one she is specifically told not to enter) and finds herself in a parallel universe where her family, and her neighbors are far more interesting than what they truly are, except everyone had buttons for eyes. Soon she discovers that her Other Mother wants to trap her into that universe as she had done to other children before. The novella won the British Science Fiction Award, as well as the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker, and the American Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla awards. Coraline was adapted as a stop-motion film by Henry Selick and as a musical by Stephin Merritt, both in 2009. The movie won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film.

The Graveyard Book is another highly lauded work by Gaiman, winning the UK’s Booktrust Prize for Teenage Fiction, the Hugo Best Novel Prize, the Carnegie Medal, and the Newbery Medal, as well as several other honors. The book tells the story of Nobody Owens, who was adopted and raised by the supernatural occupants of a graveyard after his family is murdered.

From Page to Screen

Gaiman also wrote the screenplay for the BBC TV adaptation of Neverwhere. He also wrote the 2011 episode “The Doctor’s Wife” for Doctor Who, British television’s longest-running sci-fi series.

Film adaptations of The Graveyard Book and Sandman, as well as an HBO series for American Gods, are in production.



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