One Book, One Chicago Spring 2011
Prolific author Neil Gaiman was born and raised in England but moved to the United States in 1992, where he continues to reside outside Minneapolis. He is well known as a master storyteller working in a variety of mediums who mixes modern reality with the fantastic.
Gaiman began his career as a freelance journalist, writing for various British newspapers and magazines. He later moved into many other areas of writing, including comic books, screenplays, fiction, young adult novels, children’s books and nonfiction. Gaiman’s critically acclaimed comic book series The Sandman ran for 75 issues, from 1989 until 1996. The Sandman was later collected into a series of 10 graphic novels. In addition to creating The Sandman series, Gaiman has been called upon to reimagine other comic creators’ works, including The Eternals miniseries for Marvel Comics and an issue of Spawn for Image Comics. The Sandman series inspired a number of spin-off series by other writers as well as spin-offs by Gaiman, including Death: The High Cost of Living.
Gaiman’s fiction includes Neverwhere, which was originally conceived as a BBC television miniseries; Good Omens, a humorous novel about the apocalypse co-written with Terry Pratchett, who is known for his comic fantasy Discworld series; the short story collection Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions; and American Gods, which garnered numerable awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, SFX and Locus.
Gaiman has worked on several film projects, including the six-part BBC series Neverwhere; the feature-length film MirrorMask; the 2007 animated film Beowulf; and A Short Film About John Bolton, which explores the question of where visual artist John Bolton gets his inspiration. His young adult novel Coraline was made into a feature-length film using stop-motion animation in 2009.
Gaiman has frequently worked with visual artist Dave McKean. Early in their careers, Gaiman and McKean collaborated on the graphic novel Violent Cases. The film MirrorMask was written by Gaiman and directed by McKean, who also illustrated three children’s picture books written by Gaiman—The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and Crazy Hair. Another visual artist with whom Gaiman has often collaborated is the award-winning Charles Vess, who provided paintings for Gaiman’s prose novella Stardust and illustrated Gaiman’s children’s book Blueberry Girl as well as several comic book issues written by Gaiman.
The many awards Gaiman has won give evidence of his talent and popularity. His young adult novel The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Medal in 2009. Coraline won the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. In 2000, The Sandman: The Dream Hunters won a Bram Stoker award for Best Illustrated Narrative. Issue #19 of The Sandman, entitled A Midsummer Night’s Dream, won the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction.
Gaiman is an outspoken supporter of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.