Jonathan Stroud was born on 27 October 1970 in Bedford, England. As a child he enjoyed reading, writing stories and drawing; his passion for reading grew between the age of seven and nine, when he was often ill and had to spend long periods at the hospital or in his bed at home. During that time he read furiously and quickly developed a passion for stories of magical adventures.
He studied English Literature at the University of York, and then embarked on a publishing and writing career in the game book and non-fiction department at Walker Books. He later moved to Kingfisher Publications to edit children's non-fiction, while in his free time he worked on his writing.
In 1999 he published his first novel, Buried Fire, a children’s story that combines elements of fantasy and mythology in a contemporary setting.
In 2001 he left his editorial job and went on to write full time; in January 2001 he published his second fantasy adventure, The Leap, a story based on two realities and told from two perspectives.
The Amulet of Samarkand was published in 2003; it is the first book of the bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy - a captivating fantasy trilogy about a wickedly witty and absolutely irresistible supernatural being, Bartimaeus, in perpetual conflict with the young politician/magician Nathaniel.
The author has said that in his stories he gravitates towards the fantastical, but only when balanced by some element of realism. He distrusts fantasies that loop into escapist whimsy. “I think it's important that in the midst of fantasy there are echoes of contemporary concerns” – British Council Contemporary Writers.
The Amulet of Samarkand has been received with worldwide acclaim. Awards include: A 2004 ALA Notable Book, A 2004 Best Books for Young Adults Top Ten Pick, A Bank Street 2004 Best Book of the Year, A Booklist Top 10 Fantasy Book for Youth 2004.
Film rights were sold to Miramax, and the novel has been published in many languages.
The Amulet of Samarkand - Sample of audiobook at Audible
Jonathan Stroud and Michael Pryor conversation on the Bartimaeus Trilogy State Library, Victoria, 2006
Interview July 2006, Teenreads.com
Other books by Jonathan Stroud include: The Last Siege (2003), a minimalist thriller set in a ruined, deserted castle; The Ghost of Shadow Vale (2009), a short retelling of a fantastic sequence from the medieval Icelandic "Grettir's Saga"; Heroes of the Valley (2009), an epic saga set in medieval world, inspired by Norse mythology.
He is currently working on a new Bartimaeus book, due to be published late next year.
Jonathan Stroud lives in St Albans with his two children, Isabelle and Arthur, and his wife Gina, an illustrator of children's books.