TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Stroud

"I was born in Bedford, England, on 27th October 1970. When I was six my family moved to St Albans, near London, which is where I grew up. From very early on I enjoyed scribbling stories and drawing, and for a long time the two sides were equally balanced: pictures interested me as much as words. Between the ages of seven and nine I was often ill, and spent long periods in hospital and at home in bed. During this time I escaped from boredom and frustration by reading furiously: books littered my bedroom floor like bones in a lion's cave. I tended to enjoy stories of magical adventure more than ones about real life – I think this was because they provided a more complete escape. Around this time I fell in love with fantasy. 

Throughout my school years I experimented with different kinds of writing, often illustrated. I tried comics, gamebooks, board games, and later poems and plays. Without being entirely aware of it, I was searching for the kind of writing that suited me best. Meanwhile, I was getting more and more interested in other people's writing. Finally I went to York University, to read English Literature.

 Like many English graduates, I left university without a clue what to do. But I got an editorial job at Walker Books, in London, and began to learn about children's books. For several years I worked as an editor: helping authors with their ideas and their texts, consulting with designers and artists about the visual side, helping to create books of many kinds. I worked on encyclopaedias, history books, game books and even a children's Bible. This taught me a lot of things about structure, pace and style; meanwhile, in my free time, I was busy writing also. I did several puzzle books for Walker, and began working on a novel too. When Buried Fire was published in 1999, I knew that I had found what I truly wanted to do, but it took until 2001 before I finally took the plunge, gave up being an editor and tried to write full time. 

The same year I married Gina, and we have a daughter called Isabelle and a son called Arthur. Most days I go up to my study, and shut myself away from the world while I write. But I also enjoy doing as many events and author visits as possible: it's essential that a writer reminds himself of who he's writing for."

Website: http://www.jonathanstroud.com/

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