He was born in Bedford, England, on 27th October 1970. When he was six his family moved to St Albans, near London, which is where he grew up. From very early on he enjoyed scribbling stories and drawing, and for a long time the two sides were equally balanced: pictures interested him as much as words. Between the ages of seven and nine he was quite often ill, and spent long periods in hospital and at home in bed. During this time he escaped from boredom and frustration by reading furiously: books littered his bedroom floor like bones in a lion's cave. He tended to enjoy stories of magical adventure more than ones about real life – he thinks this was because they provided a more complete escape – and around this time he fell in love with fantasy.
Throughout his school years he experimented with different kinds of writing, often illustrated. (See Early Stuff for some examples.) He tried comics, game books, board games, and later poems and plays. Without being entirely aware of it, he was searching for the kind of writing that suited him best. Meanwhile, he was getting more and more interested in other people's writing: finally he went to York University, to read English Literature.
Like many English graduates, he left university without a clue what to do. But he got an editorial job at Walker Books, in London, and began to learn about children's books. For several years he worked as an editor: helping authors with their ideas and their texts, consulting with designers and artists about the visual side, helping to create books of many kinds. He worked on encyclopedias, history books, game books and even a children's Bible. This taught him a lot of things about structure, pace and style; meanwhile, in his free time, he was busy writing also. He did several puzzle books for Walker, and began working on a novel too. When Buried Fire was published in 1999, he knew that he had found what he truly wanted to do, but it took until 2001 before he finally took the plunge, gave up being an editor and tried to write full time.
The same year he married Gina, and they had a daughter called Isabelle and a son called Arthur. Most days he cycles out to my study (see My Working Day), and he shuts himself away from the world while he writes. But he also enjoys doing as many events and author visits as possible: it's essential that a writer reminds himself of who he is writing for…
Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father (an elementary school teacher, historian and artist of note) and mother (a drama teacher). He first developed an interest in writing in primary (elementary) school with gripping Viking stories inspired by history he was learning in school at the time!
After leaving school he got his degree from Dublin university and qualified as a primary school teacher, returning to work in Wexford. He married in 1991 and he and his wife spent about 4 years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was published in 1998, based on his experiences in Tunisia; it has since been translated into many languages. A sequel followed in 1999, followed by some other books (see below). Then in 2001 the first Artemis Fowl book was published and he was able to resign from teaching and concentrate fully on writing.
He says, “I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas. Hopefully neither of these will happen anytime soon. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.