Neil Richard Gaiman was born on November 10, 1960 in Portchester, England. He originated from a family of Eastern European Jewish decent. His father, David Bernard Gaiman worked at their family chain of stores while his mother, Sheila Gaiman was a pharmacist. In 1965 the family moved to East Grinstead, West Sussex where Neil grew up with a profound love for reading, beginning as early as age 4. Some of his favorite childhood books include J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Batman and other comics. Gaiman received early education at various church schools including Fonthill School in East Grinstead, Ardingly College, and Whitgift School in Croydon.
When Gaiman began to outgrow comic books in his teenage years, he realized the lack of comic books for an older mature audience. He, therefore, decided to fill the gap himself. Although he wanted to write comic books, Gaiman had little idea how to go about it. Following his graduation from high school in 1977, Gaiman became a journalist writing articles for a number of renowned publications such as the Sunday Times, the Observer, Knave and Time Out. In March 1985, Gaiman married McGrath after the birth of their son Michael in 1983. The couple had two more children Holly and Madeleine.
In 1984, Gaiman wrote his first book, a biography of the band Duran Duran. He continued writing articles and interviews in magazines under pseudonyms. However, in 1987, Gaiman waved goodbye to journalism stating, “British newspapers can make up anything they want and publish it as fact”. Also in late 1980s, Gaiman published Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion. Gaiman started writing comic books, continuing the series of Marvelman after its original creator and Gaiman’s friend Alan Moore abandoned it. After his impressive work on Marvelman, Gaiman was offered to write the limited series of Black Orchird and also to re-write an old character, The Sandman. From December 1988 to March 1966, Gaiman produced work on The Sandman which was later collected in 12 volumes. More significant comic works by Neil Gaiman include The Books of Magic (1989), Lady Justice, Mr. Hero the Newmatic Man, Teknophage, Tales of the White Wolf, Whatever happened to the Caper Crusader as well as contributions to Wednesday Comics.
In addition to writing comics and other graphic novels, Gaiman has also authored several short stories and novels. Some of his short stories and poetic stories have been compiled into the volumes Angels and Visitations (1993) and Smoke and Mirrors (1998). Gaiman’s first novel, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch was published in 1990, written in collaboration with Terry Pratchett. The book was named one of England’s one hundred “best-loved novels” in a poll conducted by the BBC. His next novel, Neverwhere was published in 1996 followed by the Stardust series in 1997-1998. In 2001, Gaiman published American Gods, which is considered to be his best work. American Gods has been presented prestigious awards including Hugo, Nebula, Locus and SFX as well as securing a position at The New York Times bestsellers list.
As of 2002, Neil Gaiman lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA where he continues to write graphic stories, comics and novels.