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Chris Wooding (1977–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

Born 1977, in Leicester, Leicestershire, England. Education: Attended University of Sheffield. Hobbies and other interests: Watching movies, backpacking in foreign countries, touring with his band.

Addresses

Agent—Carolyn Whitaker, London Independent Books, 26 Chalcot Crescent, London NW1 8YD, England.

Career

Full-time writer.

Honors Awards

Smarties Book Prize, 2001, Horn Book Notable Book designation, School Library Journal Best Books designation, and American Library Association Best Book For Teens designation, all 2004, all for The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray; Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award, and Dracula Society Children of the Night Award for best gothic novel, both 2004, and Children's Book Council Outstanding International Book Award, 2005, all for Poision.

Writings

YOUNG-ADULT NOVELS

Crashing, Scholastic (London, England), 1998, Scholastic/Push (New York, NY), 2003.

Catchman, Scholastic (London, England), 1998.

Kerosene, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Endgame, Scholastic (London, England), 2000.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, Scholastic (London, England), 2001, Orchard (New York, NY), 2004.

Poison, Scholastic (London, England), 2003, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Storm Thief, Orchard (New York, NY), 2006.

"BROKEN SKY" SERIES; FANTASY; FOR CHILDREN

Broken Sky: Part One, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Broken Sky: Part Two, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Broken Sky: Part Three, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Broken Sky: Part Four, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Broken Sky: Part Five, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 1999, published as Defy It, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Broken Sky: Part Six, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Broken Sky: Part Seven, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 2000.

Broken Sky: Part Eight, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 2000.

Broken Sky: Part Nine, illustrated by Steve Kyte, Scholastic (London, England), 2000.

"BRAIDED PATH" SERIES; FANTASY; FOR ADULTS

The Weavers of Saramyr, Gollancz (London, England), 2003.

The Skein of Lament, Gollancz (London, England), 2004.

The Ascendancy Veil, Gollancz (London, England), 2005.

OTHER

Halflight (adult fantasy novel), Gollancz (London, England), 2006.

Work in Progress

The screenplays Nursery, a horror film, for director Michael Radford, and Fusion, a cartoon series for Canada's Nelvana television; Pandemonium, a graphic novel, for Scholastic's Grafix imprint, due 2008.

Sidelights

Chris Wooding achieved success as an author at a very young age. His first novel, Crashing, was written and accepted for publication while he was still a teenager, and by the time he graduated from college at age twenty-one he was making a living as a full-time writer. Being published so young "was brilliant, obviously," Wooding told a Push online interviewer, "but more because I had finally achieved what I'd been trying for all my life up till then. I had a frighteningly sharp focus on what I wanted to do and be ever since I can remember."

Wooding's first few books, including Crashing and Kerosene, are realistic novels about teenagers struggling with love and bullies. In Crashing, protagonist Jay is a teenager at the end of his last year of high school. His parents have gone out of town, giving him the chance to throw a party for his friends to celebrate the end of exams and have one last get-together before they all head off into adulthood. He also hopes that the party will give him a chance to get closer to Jo, a girl on whom he has long had his eye. However, things do not go as planned, and Jay and his friends soon find the party devolving into a clash with a drunken lout named Stew and Stew's gang of buddies. The book "captures Feeling like a misfit in high school, sixteen-year-old Cal compensates by starting fires, but as the social pressures mount, no fire seems big enough in Wooding's 1999 debut novel. (Cover design by Steve Scott.)A seventeen-year-old witch hunter and his mentor discover a beautiful but possessed woman wandering the streets of a Victorian London where demons are as common as rats in Wooding's 2001 page-turner. (Cover design by Steve Scott.)the essence of being a high school boy, yearning for first love, and wanting to impress your friends," Sarah Applegate wrote in Kliatt, while a Publishers Weekly contributor concluded that "the character study of friends on the verge of adulthood has a pleasing, cinematic energy."

Kerosene is the story of Cal, an almost pathologically shy sixteen-year-old boy. Two of the popular girls at his school, Emma and Abby, team up to torture Cal just for fun, and to cope with his frustration he begins setting fires—first small ones, then larger and larger blazes. Although some reviewers were unhappy with the book's resolution, School Library Journal contributor Sharon Rawlins noted that Cal's "feelings of alienation and inadequacy are believably portrayed." "Although Cal himself realistically suffers from being overwrought, the story is not, but rather is a gripping and insightful psychological adventure," Francisca Goldsmith noted in Kliatt.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray differs from Wooding's earlier works. This supernatural novel, which won the prestigious British Smarties Book Prize, is set in an alternate London full of magic and strange monsters. Most people in this city fear that if they go out at night they will be in danger from the wyches, but some, including seventeen-year-old Thaniel Fox, bravely set out to hunt the creatures instead. While out hunting one night, Thaniel finds Alaizabel Cray, a half-mad, seemingly possessed young woman whom the wyches find strangely attractive. "This is dark fare, often graphically violent," Jennifer Mattson noted in Booklist, adding that "Wooding delivers characters to care about." Reviewers praised many aspects of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented on the "complex plotting and structure[, which] combine with rich, atmospheric world-building in a fast-paced, tensionfilled read." Another critic, writing in Publishers Weekly, wrote that "the tactile quality of the prose will make readers feel as if they can touch and smell the dank sewers of the city." Wooding "fuses together his best storytelling skills—plotting, atmosphere, shock value—to create a fabulously horrific and ultimately timeless underworld," Hillias J. Martin concluded in School Library Journal.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2002, Todd Morning, review of Kerosene, p. 1838; August, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 1925.

Bookseller, December 7, 2001, "Three Take Gold Smarties," p. 6; February 4, 2005, review of The Ascendancy Veil, p. 32.

Girls' Life, October-November, 2004, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 42.

Horn Book, November-December, 2004, Anita L. Burkam, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 719.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 815.

Kliatt, July, 2002, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Kerosene, p. 26; May, 2004, Sarah Applegate, review of Crashing, p. 25; July, 2004, Michele Winship, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, February 18, 2002, review of Kerosene, p. 98; December 15, 2003, review of Crashing, p. 75; September 13, 2004, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 80.

School Librarian, autumn, 1999, review of Kerosene, p. 158; winter, 2000, review of Endgame, p. 215; autumn, 2001, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 161; autumn, 2003, review of Poison, p. 161.

School Library Journal, July, 2002, Sharon Rawline, review of Kerosene, p. 128; August, 2004, Hillias J. Martin, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 132; April, 2005, review of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, p. 72.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2004, Ed Sullivan, review of Crashing, p. 138.

ONLINE

British Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/blast/ (November 6, 2005), "Blast: Chris Wooding."

Chris Wooding Home Page, http://www.chriswooding.com (November 6, 2005).

Fantastic Fiction Web site, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (November 6, 2005), "Chris Wooding Bibliography."

Push Web site, http://www.thisispush.com/ (November 6, 2005), interview with Wooding.

ScifiDimensions.com, http://www.scifidimensions.com/ (November 6, 2005), Chris Coppeans, review of The Skein of Lament.

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