As a child
Born in north London, Anthony says, "I think I knew with certainty that I wanted to be a writer around eight." For birthdays, he asked for books, pens and a typewriter. His schooldays were not especially happy, more like something "out of Dickens or Dahl", and one reason he began writing books for young people was "to make up for the shortcomings of my childhood".
As an adult
Anthony lives in central London with his wife Jill Green, a TV producer, and their sons Nicholas and Cassian. His whole family gets involved in his writing. Jill has produced several of Anthony's scripts, including the drama serial Foyle's War, which won the Lew Grade Audience Award in 2003. His son Cassian is already a seasoned actor, having appeared in three of his shows, and Nicholas, his oldest son, has helped Anthony to research the Alex Rider books by trying his hand at everything from scuba-diving to snowboarding and surfing! Anthony has an unrivalled reputation for getting boys, especially reluctant readers, into books. In 2007, Anthony was singled out by then Education Secretary Alan Johnson as the not-so-secret weapon to get boys reading. In 2008, he was made the National Year of Reading's first Champion Author due to his regular outreach work to Youth Offenders and Looked After Children throughout the UK, and in 2013, he was also selected to be a World Book Day author. Anthony continues to be a champion for children’s literature and is frequently asked to contribute to the national debate on children’s reading.
As an author
Anthony's first novel was Enter Frederick K. Bower, published in 1979 when Anthony was just 23. He has since written many more and is also a prolific writer for television, film and theatre. He created Foyle's War and the popular series Midsomer Murders and has also worked on Agatha Christie's Poirot and Murder Most Horrid. His play, Mindgame, was produced in the West End and he has also written an adult novel, The Killing Joke. Anthony's phenomenally successful series of books about teen superspy Alex Rider has delighted children all over the world. Stormbreaker, the first Alex Rider mission published in 2000, and the bestselling adventure was then made into a blockbuster movie in 2006. In 2003, Anthony was delighted to win the Red House Children's Book Award for Skeleton Key as it was voted for entirely by children. He has since received numerous awards for the Alex Rider series including the Bookseller Association/Nielsen Author of the Year Award 2007 and Children's Book of the Year Award for Ark Angel at the 2006 Children's Book Award. Anthony's supernatural series, The Power of Five was inspired by a simple thought: “Would it be possible to write something like Lord of the Rings – but to set it here, now, in the real world?” says Anthony. “Isn't it more exciting to imagine these great battles with all their magic and mystery happening in the very high street where you live, just out of the corner of your eye?” 2009 was a particularly busy year for Anthony with the publication of Alex Rider's eighth mission Crocodile Tears, as well as the new five-part drama for ITV called Collision; one of the most talked about TV programmes of the year. In 2010 Walker celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Alex Rider phenomenon and ten years of Anthony Horowitz topping the bestseller lists, before the final Alex Rider mission, Scorpia Rising, topped the bestseller charts in 2011. In 2013 the deadly prequel to the Alex Rider series – Russian Roulette – was released, charting the life of the ruthless assassin Yassen Gregorovich.
Things you didn't know about Anthony Horowitz
- Anthony began writing because he wanted to be like Tintin.point2>He has travelled to all the places in the Tintin books (except the moon).
- Snatchmore Hall (in The Switch) is based on the house where Anthony lived as a child. He had a nanny, two cooks, two gardens, a chauffeur ... and he hated it.
- He was sent to a revolting boarding school, Orley Farm, in north London. The headmaster and his wife featured by name in one of his TV episodes. He depicted them as mad Nazis!
- He takes research for his books very seriously. He has walked across the Andes and visited forbidden criminal enclaves in Hong Kong. For Point Blanc, he climbed – and operated – a 150m crane opposite the Houses of Parliament.
- He got married in Hong Kong. He didn't understand the ceremony because it was in Chinese.
- He spent a year working as a cowboy in Australia. This was for fun – not for a book.
- His passion is scuba-diving. He has dived all over the world, including Sipadan in the South China Sea, where he saw hammerhead sharks.
- He has a chocolate-coloured labrador called Lucky. Lucky by name, but not by nature – the dog has been run over three times!
- He is a major film fan and goes to the cinema three or four times a week. His favourite film is The Third Man. He is also a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock's mysteries.