Anthony Horowitz facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
5 April 1955 |
Stanmore, Middlesex, England
|Occupation||Novelist, screenwriter, children's author & adult author.|
|Alma mater||University of York|
|Genre||Adventure, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Fantasy|
His works for children and young adult readers include The Diamond Brothers series, the Alex Rider series, and The Power of Five series (known in the U.S. as The Gatekeepers). His work for adults includes the play Mindgame (2001); two Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk (2011) and Moriarty (2014); two novels featuring his own detective Atticus Pünd, Magpie Murders (2016) and Moonflower Murders (2020); and four novels featuring a fictionalised-version of himself as a companion and chronicler to private investigator Daniel Hawthorne, The Word Is Murder (2017), The Sentence Is Death (2018), A Line to Kill (2021), and The Twist of a Knife (2022). The Estate of James Bond creator Ian Fleming also chose Horowitz to write Bond novels utilizing unpublished material by Fleming, starting with Trigger Mortis in 2015, followed by Forever and a Day in 2018, and a third and final novel With a Mind to Kill in May 2022.
He has also written for television, contributing scripts to ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot and Midsomer Murders. He was the creator and writer of the ITV series Foyle's War, Collision and Injustice and the BBC series New Blood.
Background and personal life
Horowitz was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, into a Jewish family, and in his early years lived an upper middle class lifestyle. An overweight and unhappy child, Horowitz enjoyed reading books from his father's library. As a child, Horowitz used to go to Instow, where his nanny took him boating on the River Torridge. He also had a stuffed monkey named Benjamin (which was later eaten by his dog).
Horowitz started writing at the age of 8 or 9 and he instantly "knew" he would be a professional writer. This was because he was an underachiever in school and was not physically fit, and found his escape in books and telling stories. In a 2006 interview Horowitz stated "I was quite certain, from my earliest memory, that I would be a professional writer and nothing but."
At age 13 he went to Rugby School, a public school in Rugby, Warwickshire. Horowitz's mother introduced him to Frankenstein and Dracula. She also gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. Horowitz said in an interview that it reminds him to get to the end of each story since he will soon look like the skull. He graduated from the University of York with a lower second class degree in English literature and art history in 1977, where he was in Vanbrugh College.
Horowitz's father was associated with some of the politicians in the "circle" of prime minister Harold Wilson, including Eric Miller. Facing bankruptcy, he moved his assets into Swiss numbered bank accounts. He died from cancer when Horowitz was 22, and the family was never able to track down the missing money despite years of trying.
Horowitz now lives in Central London with his wife Jill Green, whom he married in Hong Kong on 15 April 1988. Green produced Foyle's War, the series Horowitz wrote for ITV. They have two sons. He credits his family with much of his success in writing, as he says they help him with ideas and research. He is a patron of family support charity Home-Start in Suffolk and child protection charity Kidscape.
Politically, he considers himself to be "vaguely conservative". Ahead of the 2010 United Kingdom general election, Horowitz stated he would vote for the Conservative Party in response to the then policies of the governing Labour Party but "with little enthusiasm." In 2017, Horowitz expressed criticism of the notion of cultural appropriation after a publisher had allegedly tried to dissuade him from creating a black character as a central figure in one of his novels, and supported fellow author Lionel Shriver's critiques on the same issue. He also criticised the social phenomenon of cancel culture and "mobbing" of figures for expressing diverse opinions, stating "There is a rigidity in the way we have begun to think and speak. If we step outside certain lines on certain issues, we find not just people disagreeing, but disagreeing to the extent of death threats. When somebody says something untoward in the press, and I am not saying this about myself, people don’t just say that was a stupid thing to say. They say, Lose your job. They want you to never ever have an income again.”
Horowitz was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours, both for services to literature.
Early literary work (1979–1991)
Anthony Horowitz's first book, The Sinister Secret of Frederick K Bower, was a humorous adventure for children that was published in 1979 and later reissued as Enter Frederick K Bower in 1985. In 1981 his second novel, Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet was published and he moved to Paris to write his third book.
In 1983, the first novel in the Pentagram series was released. Entitled The Devil's Door-Bell, the story saw thirteen-year-old Martin Hopkins trying to adjust to a new life with a foster mother on a Yorkshire farm, but it quickly becomes a nightmare when he ends up having to battle an ancient evil that threatens the whole world. Only three of the four remaining novels in the series were ever released: The Night of the Scorpion (1984), The Silver Citadel (1986) and Day of the Dragon (1986).
In 1985, he released Myths and Legends, a collection of retold tales from around the world.
In 1988, Groosham Grange was published. Its central character is a thirteen-year-old "witch", David Eliot, gifted as the seventh son of a seventh son. This book went on to win the 1989 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award. Some similarities were made between this book and J. K. Rowling’s newer Harry Potter series, but Horowitz did not choose to take action because of this.
Despite this, the most major release of Horowitz's early career was The Falcon's Malteser (1986). This book was the first in the successful Diamond Brothers series, and was followed in 1987 by Public Enemy Number Two, and by South by South East in 1991.
Early children's fiction success (1992–1999)
Horowitz wrote many stand-alone novels in the 1990s. His 1994 novel Granny, a comedy thriller about an evil grandmother, was Horowitz's first book in three years, and it was the first of three books for an audience similar to that of Groosham Grange. The second of these was The Switch, a body swap story, first published in 1996. The third was 1997's The Devil and His Boy, which is set in the Elizabethan era and explores the rumour of Elizabeth I's secret son.
In 1999, The Unholy Grail was published as a sequel to Groosham Grange. It was later renamed Return to Groosham Grange in 2003, possibly to help young readers understand the connection between the two books. In 2021, Horowitz revealed to a fan on Twitter that he had plans to write a third book, but was dissuaded after the success of the Harry Potter series. In the same year, Horowitz publishing a collection of several short horror stories aimed for children and young adults, entitled Horowitz Horror (1999). This was an opportunity for Horowitz to further explore a darker side of his writing.
Sometime before the new millennium, Horowitz attempted to reach out to an adult audience with a novel called Poisoned Pen. The novel is based around Martin Holland, who is a childhood friend of a 21st century incarnation of William Shakespeare. In the novel, William Shakespeare is reimagined as a Hollywood screenwriter who is murdered in a set of circumstances that Martin Holland finds rather odd, despite attempts from a Los Angeles detective to dissuade him. The novel follows Martin’s attempts to solve the ever-growing mystery through a series of rather unusual circumstances and a number of people who seem rather glad that Shakespeare was murdered. The novel has never been published in the UK or even in English, but copies in Spanish and Dutch have been released (retitled as El asesinato de Shakespeare and William S. respectively). As of June 2021, despite Horowitz’s recent successes in adult literature, there are no plans to get the novel republished.
Mainstream children's fiction success (2000–2010)
Horowitz began his most famous and successful series in the new millennium with the Alex Rider novels. These books are about a 14-year-old boy becoming a spy, a member of the British Secret Service branch MI6. As of 2021, there are eleven books where Alex Rider is the protagonist, and another connected to the Alex Rider series: Stormbreaker (2000), Point Blanc (2001), Skeleton Key (2002), Eagle Strike (2003), Scorpia (2004) Ark Angel (2005), Snakehead (2007), Crocodile Tears (2009), Scorpia Rising (2011), plus Russian Roulette (2013). Horowitz had stated that Scorpia Rising was to be the last book in the Alex Rider series prior to writing Russian Roulette about the life of Yassen Gregorovich, but he has returned to the series with Never Say Die (2017) and Nightshade (2020). In January 2022, he announced that he will begin writing a new Alex Rider novel that is due to be published sometime in 2023.
In 2003, Horowitz also wrote three novellas featuring the Diamond Brothers: The Blurred Man, The French Confection and I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, which were republished together as Three of Diamonds in 2004. The author information page in early editions of Scorpia and the introduction to Three of Diamonds claimed that Horowitz had travelled to Australia to research a new Diamond Brothers book, entitled Radius of the Lost Shark. This claim was further backed up when a new Diamond Brothers novella entitled The Greek who Stole Christmas! was released in 2007, where it is hinted at the end that Radius of the Lost Shark may turn out to be the eighth entry in the series. However, the next novel in the series is instead called Where Seagulls Dare, and is unrelated to the Australian-based adventure that was previously announced. Horowitz published the first six chapters unedited on his website throughout 2020, and intends for the full, edited novel to be published in 2022, with all profits going to support the NHS.
Horowitz also published two sequels to his short horror story collection; More Horowitz Horror (2000) and More Bloody Horowitz (2009). Many of the stories in Horowitz Horror and More Horowitz Horror were later repackaged in twos or threes as the Pocket Horowitz series, while More Bloody Horowitz was later reissued as Scared to Death. One of the short stories in More Bloody Horowitz is notable for serving as Horowitz’s opportunity to get even with fellow author Darren O'Shaughnessy, more commonly known as Darren Shan. In 2008, the pair had gotten into a joke dispute over O'Shaughnessy’s use of Horowitz’s name for an objectionable character (Antoine Horwitzer) in Wolf Island. In retaliation, Horowitz chose to plot a gruesome literary revenge in the short story The Man Who Killed Darren Shan.
In 2004, Horowitz again attempted to branch out to an adult audience with The Killing Joke, a comedy about a man who tries to track a joke to its source with disastrous consequences. The book was not very successful, and in August 2005, Horowitz returned to young adult fiction by releasing a book called Raven's Gate which began a second successful series entitled The Power of Five (The Gatekeepers in the United States). Based heavily on one of his earlier novels entitled The Devil's Door-Bell, each of the first four entries of The Power of Five subsequently ended up being a rewritten and expanded version of their respective counterpart from the Pentagram series. The second book in the series, Evil Star (based on The Night of the Scorpion), was released in April 2006. The third in the series is called Nightrise (based on The Silver Citadel), and was released on 2 April 2007. The fourth book Necropolis (based on Day of the Dragon) was released in October 2008. The fifth and final book, the only one not based on an earlier Pentagram novel, was released in October 2012 and is called Oblivion. Horowitz describes this series as "Alex Rider with devils and witches".
In October 2008, Anthony Horowitz's play Mindgame opened Off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City. Mindgame starred Keith Carradine, Lee Godart, and Kathleen McNenny. The production was the New York stage directorial debut for Ken Russell.
In March 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.
Continued success (2011–present)
On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled The House of Silk. It was both published in November 2011 and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A follow-up novel, Moriarty, was published in 2014.
In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, which was released in 2015. It was followed by a second novel, Forever and A Day, which came out on 31 May 2018. A third novel entitled With a Mind to Kill was announced in May 2021 and will be released in May 2022. Horowitz is the only author in recent years to have been invited by Ian Fleming Publications to write successive, official James Bond novels.
In 2016, Horowitz's adult novel Magpie Murders was published. Having previously spoken about the book in 2005, it was initially described as being about "a whodunit writer who is murdered while he's writing his latest whodunit". Horowitz finally expected to finish it in late 2015, and it was finally published in October 2016. A follow-up novel, Moonflower Murders, was released in 2020. A third and final novel in the series is expected to be released as well, with Horowitz expressing hope that he’ll start writing it sometime in 2023.
In 2011, Horowitz tweeted that he had plans to write a new trilogy for the same demographic as his Alex Rider and Power of Five books, but that it’s still “a secret”. During 2012 and 2013, Horowitz tweeted out some more information regarding the series, where he stated that it will be “a completely new genre” from anything else he’d done so far, and that it will have a contemporary setting in modern-day London with a 15-year-old protagonist. He also revealed that it’s tentatively entitled The Machine. However, Horowitz revealed in 2021 that he has yet to begin writing this series and that he has no immediate plans to do so.
Film and television career
Horowitz wrote the screenplay for Just Ask for Diamond, a 1989 film adaptation of his Diamond Brothers novel The Falcon’s Malteser that had an all-star cast which included Bill Paterson, Jimmy Nail, Roy Kinnear, Susannah York, Michael Robbins and Patricia Hodge, and featured Colin Dale and Dursley McLinden as Nick and Tim Diamond respectively.
Horowitz is the writer of a feature film screenplay, The Gathering, which was released in 2003 and starred Christina Ricci.
He wrote the screenplay for Alex Rider's first major motion picture, Stormbreaker.
Horowitz began writing for television in the 1980s, contributing to the children's anthology series Dramarama, and also writing five episodes of the third season for the popular fantasy series Robin of Sherwood. He also novelised three of Carpenter's episodes as a children's book under the title Robin of Sherwood: The Hooded Man (1986).
In addition, he created Crossbow (1987), a half-hour action adventure series loosely based on William Tell. This era in Horowitz's career also saw the release of Adventurer (1987), a thriller about a convict stuck on a prisoner ship with his sworn enemy based on the Richard Carpenter series, and Starting Out (1990), a collection of screenplays by the author himself, published.
His association with murder mysteries began with the adaptation of several Hercule Poirot stories for ITV's popular Agatha Christie's Poirot series during the 1990s. Often his work has a comic edge, such as with the comic murder anthology Murder Most Horrid (BBC Two, 1991) and the comedy-drama The Last Englishman (1995), starring Jim Broadbent.
In 1991, The Diamond Brothers, a six-part television series written and directed by Horowitz himself, was broadcast on ITV. The series is based on the book South by South East, which Horowitz claimed he wrote after he had written the television series, effectively making South by South East a novelisation of the television series rather than the novel acting as the primary source of inspiration. Both McLinden and Dale reprised their respective film roles, which makes the television series act as a sequel to Just Ask for Diamond.
From 1997, he wrote the majority of the episodes in the early series of Midsomer Murders. In 2001, he created a drama anthology series of his own for the BBC, Murder in Mind, an occasional series which deals with a different set of characters and a different murder every one-hour episode.
He is also less-favourably known for the creation of two short-lived and sometimes derided science-fiction shows, Crime Traveller (1997) for BBC One and The Vanishing Man (pilot 1996, series 1998) for ITV. While Crime Traveller received favourable viewing figures it was not renewed for a second season, which Horowitz accounts to temporary personnel transitioning within the BBC.
He devised the 2009 ITV crime drama Collision and co-wrote the screenplay with Michael A. Walker.
Horowitz adapted his novel Magpie Murders into a television miniseries, aired on BritBox in the UK and on the PBS series Masterpiece Mystery! in the US.
|1988||Just Ask for Diamond||Screenwriter|
|1986||Robin of Sherwood||Screenwriter||5 episodes|
|1987||Crossbow||Screenwriter||Episode The Little Soldier|
|1989||Dramarama||Screenwriter||Episode Back to Front|
|1991||The Diamond Brothers||Creator and director||6 episodes|
|1991–2001||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Screenwriter||11 episodes|
|1997–2000||Midsomer Murders||Creator and director||6 episodes|
|1997||Crime Traveller||Creator and director||8 episodes|
|2001-2003||Murder in Mind||Creator||7 episodes|
|2002–2015||Foyle's War||Creator and director||25 episodes|
|2016||New Blood||Creator||7 episodes|
|2020-2021||Alex Rider||Executive Producer||16 episodes|
|2022||Magpie Murders||Screenwriter||6 episodes|
|1999||Mindgame||Playwright||Performed 1999, published 2000|
|2009||A Handbag||Playwright||Performed as part of the National Theatre Connections festival|
|2015||Dinner with Saddam||Playwright|
In Spanish: Anthony Horowitz para niños
Anthony Horowitz Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.