Neil Gaiman and American Gods
About the Artist
Neil Gaiman“I make things up and write them down” is the way Neil Gaiman describes his varied art. Today, as one of the most celebrated writers of our time, his popular and critically acclaimed works bend genres while reaching audiences of all ages.
Gaiman’s bestselling contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods, took the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Locus awards—as did his bestselling young adult story, Coraline. His children’s novel, The Graveyard Book, is the only work to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) Medals – awarded by librarians for the most prestigious contribution to children’s literature.
Gaiman’s groundbreaking Sandman comics, which have garnered a large number of accolades including nine Eisner Awards, were described by Stephen King as having turned graphic novels into “art.” Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as the greatest epic in the history of the form, an issue of Sandman was the first comic book to receive literary recognition, the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.
Two of Gaiman’s speeches have gone viral. One of them, “Make Good Art,” an inspiring commencement address from 2012, received 1.5 million views (Vimeo and YouTube), and proved so popular it was released as a book illustrated and designed by Chip Kidd.
In 2011, Gaiman’s script for an episode of Doctor Who led The Times of London to describe him as “a hero.” Indeed, Gaiman is an adventuresome creator—not only of fiction and comics, but also of screenplays, song lyrics, poetry, journalism, and multimedia works. He turned his work “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” into a performance that was a synchronized mix of music, art, and storytelling. It debuted at the Sydney Opera House in 2010 and toured the United States and United Kingdom in 2014, including an appearance at Carnegie Hall.
Gaiman is the number 1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 20 books. His works for adults include Neverwhere (broadcast as a BBC radio adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch); Anansi Boys; Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett); and the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. His novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was described by The Guardian as “a book that summons both the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, and the complicated landscape of memory and forgetting.” It, too, was a number 1 New York Times bestseller, and was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.
Coraline was adapted as a musical by Stephin Merritt in 2009. Other works for younger readers include The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (illustrated by longtime collaborator Dave McKean); The Wolves in the Walls (made into an opera by the Scottish National Theatre); Odd and the Frost Giants (written for 2009’s World Book Day, illustrated by Brett Helquist); The Dangerous Alphabet (illustrated by Gris Grimly); and Fortunately the Milk, another bestseller.
Gaiman has appeared as himself on The Simpsons and an episode of Arthur, and has written for the hit television series Babylon 5. He has also penned screenplays for the original BBC TV series of Neverwhere; McKean’s first feature film, Mirrormask, for the Jim Henson Company; and cowrote (with Roger Avary) the script to Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf. Other of Gaiman’s work has been adapted for film, television, and radio, including Stardust (starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer); Coraline (an Academy Award nominee and the BAFTA winner for Best Animated Film); Sandman (currently in development as a major motion picture); and American Gods (a forthcoming television series). American Gods, was also the first selection of the One Book, One Twitter book club. His book Hansel and Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014. In 2015, Gaiman published the New York Times bestselling collection of short stories titled Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, as well as a fairy tale illustrated by UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell titled The Sleeper & the Spindle. In 2016, he released a collection of nonfiction titled The View from the Cheap Seats and a new edition of Neverwhere illustrated by Riddell. Gaiman is currently working on a book titled Norse Mythology (February 2017/WW Norton). He also has a new picture book titled Cinnamon (HarperCollins, March 2017) in the works.
A self-described “feral child who was raised in libraries,” Gaiman credits librarians with fostering a lifelong love of reading. He is a passionate advocate for books and libraries, and a supporter and former board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. His many readers and fans love him. His blog has more than a million regular readers, and over two million people follow him on Twitter. Born in England, Gaiman lives in the United States and teaches at Bard College. He is married to artist/musician Amanda Palmer, with whom he sometimes performs.
Gaiman has been honored with numerous awards around the world. Altogether, he has received four Hugos, two Nebulas, one World Fantasy Award, four Bram Stoker Awards, six Locus Awards, two British SF Awards, one British Fantasy Award, three Geffens, one International Horror Guild Award, two Mythopoeic Awards, and 15 Eisner Awards. Other honors include the Shirley Jackson Award, Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize (for his body of work), Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Defender of Liberty award, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts, one of the oldest American universities dedicated to the visual and performing arts and design.