Garth Nix

Garth Nix portrait image to appear alongside the Garth Nix biography.

Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, and spent his childhood in Canberra. Before attended the University of Canberra from 1984-1986 he spent time travelling in the UK. Emerging in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing, Nix soon became heavily involved in the publishing industry after moving to Sydney, working his way up the corporate ladder until finally becoming a senior editor in 1991 with HarperCollins Australia.

He left to travel through Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia in 1993, returning to work in 1994 with an IT public relations and marketing firm which in 1996 led to him co-founding PR firm Gotley Nix Evans Pty Ltd. In 1999 he joined Curtis Brown, an Australian literary agency, as a part-time agent after a stint as a full-time writer in 1998.

However, in 2002, Nix once more became a full-time writer. He has worked as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve, serving four years in an Assault Pioneer platoon, and as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. His books are published around the world and have been translated into 36 languages.

What kinds of books did you like to read when you were a boy?
I've always read very widely, a habit that started very early. One of my favorite books as an eight or nine year old was a 1930s encyclopedia called Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia. I used to read entire volumes of that over several weeks, paying equal attention to science, history, literature and so on. But my favorite part of it was the color section on heraldry and the list of old English coins, like how many groats equaled a penny and so on. This was probably indicative of the sort of writer I would become. Later on, I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy and history (both novels and non-fiction). Many of the books I read then I have included in my list of favorites on my website.
Excerpt of Writers Write Interview - 2000

Nix's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Bookseller, The Australian and The Sunday Times. His first published book was The Ragwitch, a young adult fantasy published by Forge in 1995, which was followed by Sabriel and Shade's Children (HarperCollins). Shade's Children was short listed for the 1997 Aurealis Awards, is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ABA Pick of the Lists, a CBCA Notable Book, and has been short listed for the Heartland Prize (U.S.), the 2000 Pacific Northwest Reader's Choice Awards (U.S.), the South Carolina Reader's Choice Awards, the Evergreen YA Award and the Garden State Young Reader's Awards. Sabriel won both the Best Fantasy Novel and Best Young Adult Novel in the 1995 Aurealis Awards. It is also an American Library Association (ALA) Notable Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a CBCA Notable Book, a LOCUS magazine Recommended Fantasy novel, listed in 1997 Books for the Teenage (New York Public Library), listed in Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (VOYA) and it was short listed for six U.S. State awards.

What do you enjoy most about writing young adult and children's fiction? Do you feel it gives you more freedom as a writer than writing strictly for adults? (Of course, many adults enjoy your books, as well.
To be honest, most of the time I don't think about the fact that I am writing for children or young adults. I simply enjoy telling the story and the way I naturally write seems to work well for both young and older audiences. I also don't really think about freedom. Because my natural writing voice seems to inhabit the Young Adult realm (which is accepted as being for children who are becoming adults and adults who haven't forgotten being younger), I haven't had to change it, which is when I would start thinking about freedom or the lack of it.
Excerpt of Writers Write Interview - 2000

Garth Nix has recently signed a reported seven-figure deal for three new titles, two being additions to the Old Kingdom series, a prequel and a sequel, the first of which has the working title Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen. These titles will appear in 2010 and 2011. His series The Seventh Tower is currently being published in the UK, starting with The Fall in March 2008.

He currently lives in Coogee, Sydney, with his wife, Anna, and his sons, Thomas and Edward Nix.

Garth Nix books reviewed


Old Kingdom Series (also known as the Abhorsen Trilogy in the USA)

  • Sabriel (1995)
    Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands – for her father is none other than The Abhorson. His task is to lay the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him – and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father's title and duties – to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible challenges whilst discovering her own supernatural abilities – and her destiny.
  • Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (2001)
    Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother and ignorant of her father’s identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large, extended family living in the Clayr’s Glacier. She doesn’t even have the Sight – the ability to See into the present and possible futures – that is the very birthright of the Clayr. Nonetheless, it is Lirael in whose hands the fate of the Old Kingdom lies. she must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil – one that opposes the Royal Family, blocks the Sight of the Clayr, and threatens to break the very boundary between Life and Death itself. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, to help her, Lirael must find the courage to seek her own hidden destiny.
  • Abhorsen (2003)
    Orannis has been freed from its subterranean prison and now seeks to unleash its terrible powers. Only Lirael has any chance of stopping it. As she and her companions set out on their fated journey, Lirael has no idea of what lies ahead.
  • Clariel: The lost Abhorsen (2010)
  • Untitled (2011)

Seventh Tower Series (Due for release in the UK beginnng March 2008)

  • The Fall (2000)
  • Castle (2000)
  • Aenir (2000)
  • Above The Veil (2000)
  • Into Battle (2001)
  • The Violet Keystone (2001)

Keys to the Kingdom Series

  • Mister Monday (2003)
    Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world – where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets. Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. Arthur is safe – but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back – even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him. Desperate, Arthur escapes to the mysterious house that has appeared in town – a house that only he can see. Maybe there he can unravel the secrets of the key – and discover his true fate.
  • Grim Tuesday (2003)
    Arthur Penhaligon is supposed to be in bed - after all, it's only been 12 hours since he saved the world. But there's no time to rest. Grim Tuesday has laid claim to the Lower House and the First Key, and now his misshapen servants are repossessing Arthur's world and plunging it into financial disaster. To stop them, Arthur must venture back into the House, that surreal, unpredictable realm where he almost met his death. With companions old and new, Arthur embarks on a heart-stopping adventure that will take him from the dismal Pit of the Far Reaches, all the way to the heart of a sun and back. Racing furiously against time, Arthur must find the second piece of the Will, claim the Second Key, and save both his own world and the House from the destructive greed of Grim Tuesday.
  • Drowned Wednesday (2005)
    With his unlimited imagination and thrilling storytelling, Garth Nix has created a character and a world that become even more compelling with each audiobook. As Arthur gets closer to the heart of his quest, the suspense and mystery grow more and more intense...
  • Sir Thursday (2006)
    Following their adventures in the Border Sea, Arthur and Leaf head for home. But only Leaf gets through the Front Door. Arthur is blocked because someone – or something – has assumed his identity and is taking over his life. Before Arthur can take action, he is drafted by Sir Thursday and forced to join the Glorious Army of the Architect. The Army has its headquarters in the Great Maze, a defensive area of the House. Half of the Maze has already been dissolved by Nothing, and hordes of Nithlings emerge regularly to attack the rest. If the Nithling invasion can overcome the Army and the Great Maze, the House will be lost and the whole universe with it. While Leaf tries to banish Arthur's doppelgänger on earth, Arthur must survive his basic training, avoid getting posted to the Front and work out how he can free Part Four of the Will and gain the Fourth Key from Sir Thursday. If the latest, strongest and most dangerous Nithling offensive doesn't break through first…
  • Lady Friday (2007)
    Arthur Penhaligon’s adventures in the House get ever more perilous as the week unfolds. On the fifth day, there was fear... Four of the seven Trustees have been defeated and their Keys taken, but for Arthur, the week is still getting worse. Suzy Blue and Fred Initial Numbers Gold have been captured by the Piper, and his New Nithling army still controls most of the Great Maze. Superior Saturday is causing trouble wherever she can, including turning off all the elevators in the House and blocking the Front Door. Arthur can't even find out what is happening back home. All he knows is that Leaf isn't on earth any more. She's missing and so are hundreds of other people who were transferred from regular hospitals to a private institution run by a 'Doctor Friday'. From there they have been taken somewhere else in the Secondary Realms, for Lady Friday's own horrible purposes. Amid all this trouble, Arthur’s mother is also missing, and he must weigh up an offer from Lady Friday that is either a cunning trap for the Rightful Heir or a golden opportunity he must seize – before Superior Saturday or the Piper beats him to it.
  • Superior Saturday (2008)
  • Lord Sunday (2009)


  • Troubletwisters (2011)
    Twin siblings Jack and Jaide discover they are pivotal to a secret supernatural organisation that protects the earth from marauding Evil! Portland might seem like a quiet coastal town, and their grandmother is perhaps no dottier than anyone else's, but it soon becomes apparent that the strange things going on around them are anything BUT ordinary. It's all very well discovering that you suddenly have magical powers, but when you don't know exactly what they are, or how to use them, then facing impending peril doesn't seem like a very good idea at all...