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Mark Haddon

Sunday, 17 August 2003

Mark Haddon was born in Northampton in 1962. He studied for a BA in English at Merton College, Oxford, graduating in 1981.

Mark has packed a lot into his career over the years since graduating, with a spell working as a live-in volunteer for someone with MS to working a string of part-time jobs in London, from theatre box office to bicycle mail order work.

Between 1983-4 Mark returned to studying to complete an MSc in English Literature at Edinburgh University. Following this Mark held part-time positions for Mencap and several other organisations, working with children and adults with a variety of mental and physical handicaps.

At this time he was also involved in illustrating work for a number of magazines and has been a cartoonist for the New Statesman, Spectator, Private Eye, Sunday Telegraph and Guardian for which he co-wrote a cartoon-strip, Men - A User's Guide.

After a year living in Boston, Massachusetts (1997-8) with his wife, they moved back to England and, dissatified with his illustration work because it was causing him headaches, he took up abstract painting, which he now regularly sells.

From 1996 until now, Mark has been involved with many television projects. He has won numerous awards, inlcuding two BAFTAs and The Royal Television Society Best Children's Drama for Microsoap for which he was the creator and writer of 12 out of 25 episodes.

He has also written 2 episodes for the children's TV series Starstreet and most recently, has been involved in a BBC screenplay adaptation of Raymond Brigg's 'Fungus and the Bogeyman'.

All this still doesn't make mention of Mark's increasingly successful career as an author, with his first children's picture book, 'Gilbert's Gobstopper' published in 1987 by Hamish Hamilton.

Since then he has gone on to write and illustrate numerous children's books including the popular 'Agent Z' series for Bodley Head, of which 'Agent Z and the Penguin from Mars' was dramatised on BBC 1 in 1996. In 1994 Mark was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize for 'The Real Porky Phillips' published by A&C Black.

In a publishing first, Mark's latest book and first novel for older readers, 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' has been published simultaneously in two imprints. It is available for young adult readers from David Fickling Books and for adults under the Jonathan Cape imprint. It has sold co-editions in no less than fifteen other countries.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is the often amusing and compelling story of Christopher. a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome. Shown through his unwavering eyes, his family and relastionships come under sharp scrutiny in this unforgettable novel.

Mark now lives in Oxford with his wife, Sos Eltis, who is a fellow in English Literature at Brasenose College and their son Alfie. In his spare time, atlhough it's amazing to think that he might have some, Mark does marathon canoeing and as he puts it, 'various other masochistic sports activities'.

Profile supplied by Random House.