Fforde at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
11 January 1961 |
|Genre||Alternate history, comic fantasy|
|Literary movement||Postmodern literature|
Jasper Fforde (born 11 January 1961) is a British novelist. Fforde's first novel, The Eyre Affair, was published in 2001. Fforde is mainly known for his Thursday Next novels, although he has written several books in the loosely connected Nursery Crime series and has begun two more independent series, The Last Dragonslayer and Shades of Grey.
Fforde was born in London on 11 January 1961, the son of John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England (whose signature appeared on sterling banknotes during his time in office). He is the cousin, by her marriage to Desmond Fforde, of the author Katie Fforde, the grandson of Polish political adviser Joseph Retinger, and a great-grandson of journalist E. D. Morel.
Fforde was educated at the progressive Dartington Hall School, and his early career was spent as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films, including The Trial, Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment.
Fforde published his first novel, The Eyre Affair, in 2001.
His published books include a series of novels starring the literary detective Thursday Next: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, One of our Thursdays Is Missing and The Woman Who Died a Lot. The Eyre Affair had received 76 publisher rejections before its eventual acceptance for publication. Fforde won the Wodehouse prize for comic fiction in 2004 for The Well of Lost Plots.
The Big Over Easy (2005), set in the same alternative universe as the Next novels, is a reworking of his first written novel, which initially failed to find a publisher. Its original title was Who Killed Humpty Dumpty?, and later had the working title of Nursery Crime, which is the title now used to refer to this series of books. These books describe the investigations of DCI Jack Spratt. The follow-up to The Big Over Easy, The Fourth Bear, was published in July 2006 and focuses on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Fforde's books are noted for their profusion of literary allusions and wordplay, tightly scripted plots, and playfulness with the conventions of traditional genres. His works usually contain elements of metafiction, parody, and fantasy. None of his books has a chapter 13 except in the table of contents where there is a title of the chapter and a page number. In many of the books the page number is, in fact, the page right before the first page of chapter 14. However, in some the page number is just a page somewhere in chapter 12.
Shades of Grey, the first novel in a new series, was published December 2009 in the United States and January 2010 in the United Kingdom. The sixth Thursday Next novel One of our Thursdays is Missing was published in February 2011.
Fforde also plans a third Nursery Crime novel, The Last Great Tortoise Race: The Last Great Tortoise Race will be the third and final instalment of the NCD series. It is scheduled for 2017.
In November 2010 he produced The Last Dragonslayer, unconnected with his other works but in a similar though simplified style, a young-adult fantasy novel about a teenage orphan. The book was originally planned as the first in a trilogy. Subsequent entries were released in 2011 and 2014; a fourth book is scheduled for 2016.
In 2009, Fforde published a story in the Welsh edition of Big Issue magazine (a magazine distributed by the homeless) called "We are all alike" (previously called "The Man with no face"). He also published "The Locked Room Mystery mystery" [sic] in the The Guardian newspaper in 2007 and this story remains online. The U.S. version of Well of Lost Plots features a bonus chapter (34b) called "Heavy Weather", a complete story in itself, featuring Thursday Next in her position as Bellman.
Fforde has an interest in aviation and owns and flies a Rearwin Skyranger.
Originating with the Fforde Ffestival in September 2005, the Fforde Ffiesta (cf. Ford Fiesta) is now an annual event built around Fforde's books and held in Thursday Next's home town of Swindon. Held over the May bank holiday weekend, people travel from as far away as Australia and the USA to take part in a wide range of events, including a re-enacting of gameshow Name That Fruit, Hamlet Speed Reading competitions and interactive performances of Richard III.
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