Coraline began with a typing mistake, Neil Gaiman had meant to type Caroline, but following advice from an essay by Larry Niven, advising writers to treasure their typing mistakes, Gaiman kept the name and used the unusualness of the name and it’s similarity to Caroline, to great effect, as Coraline’s neighbours keep calling her Caroline.

Coraline also began, in a way, when Neil Gaiman was a child, he used to worry that his parents would move house without telling him and when he got home there would be these other people, who looked just like his parents, but weren’t.

Coraline was Neil Gaiman’s first novel for children, or as he once said “for gravely disturbed young ladies of all ages and genders.” Diana Wynne Jones called it ‘the most splendidly original, weird and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love.” Phillip Pullman in the Guardian said of it  “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: Coraline is the real thing.”

Neil Gaiman started Coraline in 1991 for his daughter Holly, who liked stories with witches in, he ran out of time by 1992, wrote another page or two over the next five years and restarted it in 1998, this time for his daughter Maddy. He squeezed the writing of Coraline in between his other work and finished it by 2001.

It was published in 2003 and went on to win many awards, including Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers and the Hugo Award for Best Novella.  It was made into a movie in 2009; in 2010 it won a Bafta and was nominated for an Oscar.

Coraline is not a tale you forget, full of mystery and menace, it makes you think again about what’s behind closed doors.



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