Neil Gaiman "Not Actually British"
A growing group of writers and readers across England are calling for the novelist Neil Gaiman to explain himself, after rumours began circulating last week that the famed British fantasist was not actually born and raised in the UK as he has claimed since the beginning of his writing career.

(photo by Georgia C. Aliano)

"Mr. Gaiman prides himself on being a spokesperson for British fairy stories, though during his climb to the top he has skewered many long-held cultural values that we hold dear," said Ian Bellingham, a reporter for the Daily Mirror who is leading the crusade for Gaiman to prove his identity. "If he is not actually British, then he has a lot of explaining to do."

According to an anonymous source, the persona of "Neil Gaiman" was developed by the author in order to get published in an increasingly hostile literary marketplace.

"We have all but confirmed that Gaiman grew up on a farm outside Lexington, Kentucky," said Bellingham. "We started getting phone calls after he went on the Today Show to announce the film adaptation of his novel "American Gods."

In 2009, Gaiman won the Newbery Prize in young adult literature for his novel "The Graveyard Book." He initially found success in the eighties as a comic book writer, working with DC comics on the long-running series "The Sandman."

"Nobody wants to read fantasy books by an American," said Sandy Denis, an agent with The Gerchon Group in London. "The biggest thrill of reading the Harry Potter books, for instance, is pretending that America doesn't even exist."

According to Bellingham, Gaiman moved to London right after attending Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. The encyclopedic knowledge of American comic books that he acquired while growing up on an isolated Kentucky farm helped him get some of his earliest assignments.

Bellingham says that by pretending to be British, Gaiman has been able to write about both countries with authority, since Americans are much more willing to trust British writers than vice versa. Themes of identity, travel, and deceit feature prominently in Gaiman's novels.

Neither Gaiman nor his agent could be reached for comment. Gaiman lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Amanda Palmer, formerly of "The Dresden Dolls."

"At this point, I think that Neil owes England an explanation," said fellow novelist Martin Amis. "Dare I say it, but we'd like to see his birth certificate."

Posted by miracle on Fri, 01 Apr 2011 13:38:38 -0500 -- permanent link

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