Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was born in the U.S. on Fort Belvoir army base, near Alexandria, Virginia, where his father was a drill sergeant in the US Army. They moved to Hawaii, where he lived until he was six, then spent the next ten years in Washington state, before moving to Los Angeles Ness studied English Literature at the University of Southern California. After graduating he worked as corporate writer for a cable company. He published his first story in Genre magazine in 1997and was working on his first novel when he moved to London in 1999.

Ness taught creative writing at Oxford University and has written and reviewed for The Daily Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian. He currently reviews for Guardian. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and was the first Writer in Residence for Booktrust. Walker Books has published all four children’s novels by Ness to date, one annually from 2008 to 2011. According to news coverage, “He turned to children’s fiction after he had the idea for a world where it is impossible to escape information overload, and knew it was right for teenagers. The first was The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it won the annual Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, which is once-in-a-lifetime for authors. The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men were sequels. All three are called the Chaos Walking trilogy and The Knife has been reissued with a front cover banner Chaos Walking: Book One. A short prequel has been published, The New World (e-book only).

A Monster Calls (2011) originated with Siobhan Dowd, another writer with the same editor at Walker, Denise Johnstone-Burt. Before her August 2007 death, Dowd and Johnstone-Burt had discussed the story and contracted for Dowd to write it. Afterward, Walker arranged separately with Ness to write and Jim Kay to illustrate, and those two completed the book without meeting. Ness won the Carnegie and Kay won the companion CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (established 1955); the first time one book has won both medals.

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