Jasper Fforde was born in London on January 11, 1961. His father was a prominent economist, while his mother did charity work and was a passionate reader. Fforde and his four siblings were raised in London and Wales. At the age of twelve Fforde was sent to Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational boarding school near Totnes, Devon, which he attended until his graduation in 1979.
As a child, he shared his mother's love of reading, and by the age of eleven, had become quite interested in film and television. While the young Fforde liked to watch Monty Python, he was particularly influenced by a commercial he saw for milk starring actor Roger Moore. It showed what happened behind the scenes on a production set, and this commercial inspired Fforde's aspirations as a movie director.
Working as an odd-job man in 1981, he was painting and decorating at a producer's home when he mentioned his desire to break into the film industry. The producer gave him work making beverages and photocopying while a movie of "The Pirates of Penzance" was being filmed. Fforde got to meet Angela Lansbury, Linda Ronstadt, and Kevin Kline. He was hooked. He spent his early movie career as a focus puller (a member of the film crew responsible for keeping the camera properly focused), and for nineteen years held a variety of posts on such movies as "Goldeneye," "The Mask of Zorro" and "Entrapment." Harboring a desire to tell his own stories rather than help other people tell theirs, Fforde started writing in 1990, and spent ten years secretly penning novel after novel as he strove to find a style of his own that was a no-mans-land somewhere between the warring factions of Literary and Absurd.
After receiving 76 rejection letters from publishers, Fforde's first novel The Eyre Affair was taken on by Hodder & Stoughton and published in July 2001. It introduced literary detective Thursday Next, whose job includes spotting forgeries of Shakespeare's lost plays, mending holes in narrative plotlines, and rescuing characters that have been kidnapped from literary masterpieces. The novel garnered dozens of effusive reviews, and received high praise from the press, booksellers and readers throughout the UK. In the US The Eyre Affair was also an instant hit, entering the New York Times Bestseller List in its first week of publication.
Fforde's motivation for writing The Eyre Affair and its sequels was born out of his own appreciation of the classics. He told James Macgowan of the Ottawa Citizen, "I love literature. I love stories, actually. The point of using the classics in this kind of playful reverence is that I always felt the classics had become stuffy through being academized-is that what the word is? Jane Eyre is a study text, and it should never have been made a study text, as has Wuthering Heights and Shakespeare. I think people are in danger of seeing them as only that, when they aren't, they're just great stories."
Fforde has added another four to the "Thursday Next" series (with another entry due in 2011), and has also begun a second series that he calls "Nursery Crime," featuring Jack Spratt of The Nursery Crime Division. Shades of Grey, in which a fragmented society struggle to survive in a color-obsessed post-apocalyptic landscape, is his eighth book and the start of a third series.
In his spare time, Fforde loves to fly his 1937 DeHavilland biplane over the hills of Wales, where he lives with his wife, Mari Roberts, and their four children.
This biography was last updated on 02/03/2010.
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Three separate interviews in which Jasper Fforde discusses the Thursday Next series, his Nursery Crime novels and Shades of Grey, the first in a trilogy set in a future world recognizable as our own - but only just.
Jasper Fforde discusses Shades of Grey, the first in a trilogy set in a future world recognizable as our own - but only just
What is National Color?
National Color is the Chromatic elite who supply the synthetic hues availableat a priceto the citizens. Although one might be Red and never able to witness "the alleged splendor of a bluebell spring," that Red can see a synthetic blue, as supplied by National Color. Although a poor copy of the original, the Univisual shades do permit a tantalizing glimpse of what the world might actually look like if you could see all the colors. Synthetic hues, however, are limited in scope (mock-hued daffodils, lemons, bananas and melons are all the same shade) and cost a lot more. Mind you, they do impress at dinner partiesunless one of your guests is a Yellow, in which case it would probably give him or her a headache.
The communal color gardens, the boast of any village, are fed by an intricate network of capillary ...
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