Labyrinth of the Spirits (Ruiz Zafon) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—September 25, 1964 
Where—Barcelona, Spain
Awards—Edebe Children's Literary Award, Best Novel, 1993
Currently—lives in Barcelona and Los Angeles, California, USA

Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a Spanish novelist. His first novel, El Príncipe de la Niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), earned the Edebe literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three more young adult novels, El Palacio de la Medianoche (1994), Las Luces de Septiembre (1995) and Marina (1999). The English version of El Príncipe de la Niebla was published in 2010.

In 2001 he published the novel La Sombra del Viento (The Shadow of the Wind), his first "adult" novel, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Since its publication, La Sombra del Viento has garnered critical acclaim around the world and has won many international awards. His next novel, El Juego del Angel, was published in April 2008. The English edition, The Angel's Game, is translated by Lucia Graves, daughter of the poet Robert Graves. It is a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind, also set in Barcelona, but during the 1920s and 1930s. It follows (and is narrated by) David Martin, a young writer who is approached by a mysterious figure to write a book. Ruiz Zafon intends it to be included in a four book series along with The Shadow of the Wind. The Third book in the cycle, El Prisionero del Cielo, appeared in 2011, and was published in English in 2012 as The Prisoner of Heaven.

Ruiz Zafon's works have been published in 45 countries and have been translated into more than 50 different languages. According to these figures, Ruiz Zafon is the most successful contemporary Spanish writer (along with Javier Sierra and Juan Gomez-Jurado). Influences on Ruiz Zafon's work have included 19th century classics, crime fiction, noir authors and contemporary writers.

Apart from books, another large influence comes in the form of films and screenwriting. He says in interviews that he finds it easier to visualize scenes in his books in a cinematic way, which lends itself to the lush worlds and curious characters he creates. (From Wikipedia.)

From a 2005 Barnes & Noble interview:

• In my tender youth I worked as a musician (composer, arranger and keyboard player/synthesizer programmer, record producer, etc.) and I've also labored for seven long years in the advertising jungle as a cynical mercenary, first as a copywriter, then a creative director (whatever that means) and also producing/directing TV commercials and polluting the world with artifacts glorifying Visa, Audi, Sony, Volkswagen, American Express, and many other evil entities. In 1992, when the lease on my soul was about to expire, I quit to become what I always wanted to do, be a full-time writer. Since then, I've published five novels and also have worked occasionally as a screenwriter.

• I am a curious creature and put my finger in as many cakes as I can: history, film, technology, etc. I'm also a freak for urban history, particularly Barcelona, Paris and New York. I know more weird stuff about 19th-century Manhattan than is probably healthy.

• There are two things that I cannot live without: music and books. Caffeine isn't dignified enough to qualify.

When asked what authors most influenced his career as a writer, here is his response:

Charles Dickens and all of the 19th-century giants. (From Barnes & Noble.)

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