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The rough guide to Neil Gaiman

If you're not yet one of his 1.85m followers

Georgia Grimond | June 14th 2013

IN A NUTSHELL
Writer of novels, screenplays, comic books, graphic novels and 56,700 tweets. Born Hampshire, 1960, the child of two Scientologists. Lives in Wisconsin with his wife, the singer Amanda Palmer; has three grown-up children by a previous marriage.

IN HIS OWN WORDS
Anybody you read before the age of 16 will end up being literary influences, good or bad. I loved Edwardian novelists; Kipling was a huge influence. Lou Reed and David Bowie were huge influences too, but I never realised until I grew up. Financial Times, 2010

I wanted to be an author as far back as I can remember, mixed with occasional bouts of wanting to be a werewolf. New Yorker, 2010

C. S. Lewis was the first writer to make me aware that somebody was writing the book I was reading. These wonderful parenthetical asides...I’d think: When I am a writer, I shall do parenthetical asides. And footnotes. There will be footnotes. I wonder how you do them. And italics. How do you make italics happen? New York Times, 2012

I tend to talk up to kids. The Times, 2006

We don’t normally find the people [ie, authors] we love most by buying them. We encounter them, we discover that we love them, which is why I decided early on I was never going to go to war [on piracy], I was just going to encourage [it], I was going to go for word of mouth. Keynote speech at London Book Fair, 2013

I write to find out what I think about things. Speech to the Texas Library Association, 2013

IN OTHERS’ WORDS
Gaiman is...a treasure-house of story. Stephen King
A rich imagination...an ability to tackle large themes. Philip Pullman
["The Sandman"] is a comic strip for intellectuals. Norman Mailer
I gotta thank you, man, for bringing women into my stores. Owner of a chain of comic-book shops
I still don’t know if you’re an idiot or you just appear to be. I think that’s what keeps me interested. Amanda Palmer, Mrs Gaiman

MOST FOLLOWED NOVELISTS ON TWITTER
1. Paulo Coelho @paulocoelho 8.06m followers (as at June 19th 2013)
2. J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling 2.08m
3. Neil Gaiman @neilhimself 1.86m
4. John Green @realjohngreen 1.56m
5. Elif Shafak @Elif_Safak 1.23m

Qualifications: must have tweeted ten times; must be best known for writing novels (so no Stephen Fry); must write own tweets (so no Chuck Palahniuk)

ON "THE SIMPSONS", 2011
GAIMAN: Pardon me. Are you scheming to co-author a successful series of children’s fantasy novels?...Perhaps someone of my experience would be a valuable addition to your crew.
HOMER: The king of fantasy books, on our fantasy book-writing team?
BART: OK, Gaiman, you are in. Your job is to get lunch and lose the British accent.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Headline, June 18th. Unnatural Creatures HarperCollins, out now. Make Good Art William Morrow, out now. How to Talk to Girls at Parties Headline e-book, out now, free

Correction Originally we listed Salman Rushdie as the fifth most followed novelist on Twitter (595,000 followers). In fact Elif Shafak has more followers with 1.23m.