Gaiman’s catalog is sprawling, covering everything from short stories and comics to children’s books and novels. Gaiman brings exquisite detail, lovingly rendered settings, multifaceted and endearing characters, and lore that seems to have roots far deeper than the page. For all these reasons Neil Gaiman will go down as one of the most successful writers of the modern age.
Neil Gaiman’s work has been honored with many awards internationally, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals.
His books and stories have also been honored with Hugos, Nebulas, the World Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Awards, Locus Awards, British SF Awards, British Fantasy Awards, Geffens, Mythopoeic Awards, and numerous others.
Related: Percy Jackson
Neil Gaiman, in full Neil Richard Gaiman, born November 10, 1960, Portchester, Hampshire, England. Gaiman now lives in the United States near Minneapolis. As a child he discovered his love of books, reading, and stories, devouring the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Branch Cabell, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Gene Wolfe, and G.K. Chesterton. A self-described “feral child who was raised in libraries,” Gaiman credits librarians with fostering a life-long love of reading:
“I wouldn’t be who I am without libraries. I was the sort of kid who devoured books, and my happiest times as a boy were when I persuaded my parents to drop me off in the local library on their way to work, and I spent the day there. I discovered that librarians actually want to help you: they taught me about interlibrary loans.”
Gaiman began his writing career in England as a journalist. His first book was a Duran Duran biography that took him three months to write, and his second was a biography of Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic: The Official Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion. Gaiman describes his early writing: “I was very, very good at taking a voice that already existed and parodying or pastiching it.” Violent Cases was the first of many collaborations with artist Dave McKean. This early graphic novel led to their series Black Orchid, published by DC Comics.
Neil Gaiman’s article for the Guardian
Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased.
And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I’m an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living through my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.
So I’m biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen. (The Guardian is a London-based newspaper.)
I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.
It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations. And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction.
Gaiman is right. A Harvard research in neuroscience suggests that you might look to the library for solutions; reading literary fiction in particular, helps people develop empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking.
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable.
Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.
The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.
Neil Gaiman’s Novels
Good Omens (1990) (with Terry Pratchett)
Odd and the Frost Giants (2008)
The Graveyard Book (2008)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
Fortunately, the Milk (2013)