Jasper Fforde was born in London on 11 January 1961. He attended Dartington Hall School in Devon, and spent 19 years working in the movie industry.
He started writing in 1990 and, according to his Tediously Long Bio, “spent ten years secretly writing 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.”
The Eyre Affair (2001) was his first published novel. He received 76 publisher rejections before it was eventually accepted by Hodder & Stoughton. Its heroine, Thursday Next, is a literary detective, battling the villains of 'Bookworld' – the unpredictable and often dangerous universe that exists within books, peopled by fictional characters getting on with their lives behind the pages. The novel was a huge hit, and became a New York Times bestseller in the first week of publication. Thursday Next has since appeared in five more books.
Fforde’s first completed novel, originally titled Who Killed Humpty Dumpty?, had failed to find a publisher. Fforde reworked the novel to create The Big Over Easy (2005), the first of the Nursery Crime novels. This series centres on Detective Jack Spratt, who polices the world of nursery rhymes, investigating cases such as Humpty Dumpty’s murder and chasing down the pathological gingerbread man.
Shades of Grey (2010) is the first in a new series of post-apocalyptic books, set in an authoritarian world in which individuals are rigidly classified accordingly to the spectrum of colours they can see.
Fforde's fourth series is for young adults. The Last Dragonslayer (2010) and its sequel The Song of the Quarkbeast (2011) focus on Jennifer Strange and her efforts to protect the noble art of magic from abuse and manipulation.
Fforde has also written a number of short stories, including We are all alike, published in the Welsh edition of the Big Issue magazine (September 2009).
According to Fforde, much of the humour in his Thursday Next series comes from satirising the classics:
“With my books I tap into the readers' collective consciousness – it's as though this world were real and you can walk through it, where characters from Star Wars might rub shoulders with Tristram Shandy. Truly, I have feasted at the great table of storytelling – and made off with the scraps!”
Fforde lives in Wales with his wife and family. He loves movies, photographs and aviation.
Read an interview here.
Books published to date:
Thursday Next series: The Eyre Affair (2001), Lost in a Good Book (2002), The Well of Lost Plots (2003), Something Rotten (2004), First Among Sequels (2007), One of Our Thursdays is Missing (2011)
Nursery Crime series: The Big Over Easy (2005), The Fourth Bear (2006)
New series: Shades of Grey (2010), The Last Dragonslayer (2010), The Song of the Quarkbeast (Nov 2011)
Fforde has a very active and entertaining website: www.jasperfforde.com.