Mark Haddon Biography


Mark Haddon was born on September 26, 1962, in Northampton, a populous area of England’s East Midlands region. Although the author has been reserved about offering information about his early years, he has noted in interviews that in writing fiction for children—the literary genre in which he had his first success—he sensed that he was always writing for the child he once was. He has also said that he read little fiction as a child; instead, he read books about science, particularly chemistry and archeology. His favorite book was Origins of the Universe (1972) by Albert Hinkelbein. He imagined that he would become a paleontologist. In his adolescence, he discovered poetry, another of his adult writing interests.

Haddon attended Uppingham School and received a B.A. in English from Merton College, Oxford, in 1981. In 1984, he received an M.A. from Edinburgh University. He married Sos Eltis, a fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. The couple had two children and settled in Oxford.

In his earlier life, Haddon worked at a variety of jobs, which may have influenced his view of the world as it appears in his fiction, as well as in his works for children. His early part-time job as a caregiver to patients with multiple sclerosis and autism surely helped his understanding of learning-disabled people, such as Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), and his work as an illustrator and cartoonist must have readied him to produce his illustrated books for children.

Haddon began publishing books for children in the late 1980’s; he...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Mark Haddon’s work is essentially comic. His skill is in creating voices for his comic characters, in making their breakdowns both funny and moving, and reminding his readers that human connections make life bearable.