Anthony Horowitz is the UK's most popular male children's author. The British Education Secretary has even called him "the not-so-secret weapon" to get boys reading. He is often singled out by the British and American press as the writer for tween boys.
Born in North London, he has published novels since he was 23. However, it was in his 40s that the Horowitz phenomenon really exploded, with his creation of Alex Rider - the reluctant teenage super-spy. The series regularly tops the New York Times bestseller list and has sold 12 million books world-wide in English alone. Anthony's work has enjoyed huge international success and has been translated into 28 languages. He is also the author of the Diamond Brother Mysteries and of the bestselling Raven's Gate.
He enjoys parallel success as a TV writer in the UK and has created some of the most successful series there, most notably: the BAFTA award-winning, Foyle's War (PBS in the US) and Midsomer Murders (Biography Channel in the US and has been sold in 167 countries). Anthony has also written for the big screen and theater.
He is one of the UK's most prolific and successful writers and is unique for working across so many disciplines. In addition to writing books, TV series, movies, and theater, somehow he also finds time to regularly write for The Economist, The Guardian, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph (features on a range of subjects such as politics, reading, education, and teenage attitudes), The Evening Standard and The Bookseller. He is a regular guest critic on BBC TV's Newsnight Review.
Some might say that Anthony Horowitz's life was copied from the pages of a Charles Dickens novel or Brothers Grimm story. Born to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, and surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was a "fixer for Harold Wilson." "My father was a very secretive man," he says. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. His mother searched unsuccessfully for years in an attempt to find the money, but never did.
His childhood was full of Dickensian characters. His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. His grandmother was a mean-spirited and malevolent- a destructive force in his life. She was, he says, "a truly evil person," his first and worst arch villain. And the headmaster at his boarding school flogged the boys until they bled.
So how did an unhappy boy, from a privileged background, metamorphose into the creator of Alex Rider, the reluctant teen super-spy for Britain's MI6? Although his childhood permanently scarred him, it also gave him a gift — it provided him with rich source material for his writing career. He found solace in boyhood in the escapism of the James Bond films, he says. He explains that his two sons watch these films with the same tremendous enjoyment he did at their age. Bond's glamour translates perfectly to the 14-year-old psyche, the author says. "Bond had is cocktails, the car and the clothes. Kids are just as picky. It's got to be the right Nike trainers, the right skateboard. And I genuinely think that the 14-year-olds are the coolest people on the planet. It's this wonderful, golden age, just on the cusp of manhood when everything seems possible."
Anthony lives in London with his wife, Jill Green, a TV producer, and their two sons, Nicholas and Cassian.