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He gave a highly entertaining talk about the characters in his Artemis Fowl books, the last of which, The Last Guardian, he was there to promote.
I met Eoin Colfer at Nottingham's Broadway Cinema in July 2012.
He signed my copy of the book, "To Ciaran, Fowl Wishes"!!
Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1965. His father, Billy, was a schoolteacher who wrote local history books about Wexford, and was also an accomplished artist. His mother, Noreen, was a drama teacher and actress. He has four brothers, Paul, the eldest, isan
is an engineer, Niall is a musician, Eamonn is a writer & documentary-maker and Donal is an architect.
They all attended Wexford's Christian Brothers
Eoin Colfer signing my book
Brothers primary school, where their father taught. Eoin has said that his father was "a witty man who made school fun". With encouragement from his parents, Eoin too developed a passion for writing, at an early age. By the ageof
age of eleven, he had completed a school play called Norse Gods, inspired by the Vikings. He recalls, "Everyone died in the end except me!"
After leaving school, Colfer went to Carysfort College, part of Dublin University, where he obtained a degree, qualified as a teacher, and followed in his father's footsteps by taking up a post atthe
at the catholic Scoil Mhuire (pronounced 'Skul Wirra' it is Gaelic for "School of Our Lady")
Lady") at Coolcotts in Wexford, where his wit and practical jokes in the staff-room became legendary!
Scoil Mhuire, Coolcotts
Eoin Colfer met his future wife Jackie Power when he was in 6th year at the Christian Brothers secondary and she was in 5th year.
After marrying in 1991, they spent much of the Arabia,
Eoin & Jackie Colfer
the following four years in East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Asia and Italy before returning to Wexford, and a couple more years teaching at Scoil Mhuire.
Some of Eoin Colfer's time abroad was spent in Tunisia which inspired him to write his first novel, the very funny Benny and Omar which was published
published in 1998 by the O'Brien Press in Ireland. Benny, an Irish boy who loves the game of hurling, moves to Africa with his family, and meets Omar, an African orphan who lives alone in a shed. He can't speak English but communicates in TV phrases! The boys have many adventures together. The book became a 'best seller' in Ireland, and hasals
has also been published in a number of European translations. A sequel Benny and Babe was published a year later, and immediately became the number one best-seller in Ireland, even knocking Harry Potter off the top spot!
Colfer's first class as a schoolteacher was an Infant one, and he wrote a series of three books for this five to seven age group. Ed Cooper is the character that figures in each of the titles: Going Potty (1999), Ed's Funny Feet (2000), and Ed's Bed (2001). These tales find Ed alternately learning how to use a strange toilet
toilet, having to wear corrective shoes, and dealing with a bed-wetting incident!
Eoin Colfer's three books written for infant children
Colfer's teaching experiences had given him a real understanding of children's humour and attitudes, but he wanted to concentrate more on writing for children, so it was no surprise to see him leave teaching in 2001. His first novel of a projected trilogy was published that year, to great acclaim
acclaim. Simply titled Artemis Fowl, it introduces the 12-year-old criminal mastermind from North Dublin.
Dublin. Artemis has a bodyguard called Domovoi Butler to protect him as he hatches a cunning plot to steal all the wealth of the Irish leprechauns! However, he hadn't bargained for Commander
Commander Root of LEPrecon, an acronym for 'Lower Elements PoliRecon
Artemis & Captain Holly Root
Artemis Fowl translated
Artemis Fowl translated
The book has also been published in a number of foreign language editions.
Colfer based the character of Artemis on his own younger brother Donal, while Artemis' younger twin brothers, Beckett and Myles, arebas
are based on Colfer's two sons Sean and Finn. When asked how he chose the name for the book's main character he says, "The name was very important. I knew it had to be a mysterious name that would make an instant impact on the reader, like Titus Groan or Hannibal Lecter. Fowl was easy enough, Fowl by name, foul by nature.
nature. But Artemis was harder. I went through several first names: Bartholemew, Bartlemy, Archimedes before I found Artemis on a Greek boys-names
boys-names website. The second I saw it, I knew."
The book (which won the 2002 WHSmith Award for the Children's category) appeared in a number of Best-seller lists and received brilliant reviews in the American press:
"Artemis Fowl is great....a new thriller fairy tale that will grab your interest, no matter your age." (New York Post)
"A bewitching mix of Lord of the Rings and James Bond." (Buffalo News)
"Artemis Fowl will spellbind children and adults alike" (Chicago Tribune)
Before Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer had an earlier success in the shape of The Wish List which was initially published in Ireland in 2000. Moody teenager Meg Finn is 14 and is blown to bitsbys
The second Artemis Fowl book The Arctic Incident appeared in 2002, with other titles in the series (which Colfer describes as "Die Hard with fairies.") following at regular
bits whilst burgling an old man's house. However, St Peter thinks that she has some good in her and he gives her just the one chance to redeem herself back on Earth. This thought-provoking but hilariously funny book was republished in 2002, in the wake of the author's immense popularity after the first Artemis Fowl novel appeared.
regular intervals. These are: The Eternity Code (2003); The Opal Deception (2005); The Lost Colony (2006); The Time Paradox (2008); The Atlantis Complex (2010). The eighth and final book in the series The Last Guardian was launched in 2012.
The film rights for the first three Artemis Fowl books were purchased in 2003, by Disney Studios and The Weinstein Company
Various cover designs for the different editions
of Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
Eoin Colfer at Nottingham's Broadway Cinema
on 12th July 2012
Company. A screenplay was written and hopes were high that a film would be made in 2004, but it didn't materialise. In 2012, Colfer said that an Artemis Fowl film was now a real possibility, "the movie has a working script and hopefully a director will be chosen later in the spring," he said. If a film were to be made, it could possibly become another series
Eoin has signed my first edition of
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian
audiobook by Nathaniel Parker
series to rival that of Harry Potter. The Artemis Fowl series has been a phenomenal success, and over 20 million books have been sold worldwide.
Eoin Colfer has said that he can't write two Artemis Fowl books in a row because he says he gets too stale, so he has turned to other projects to break up the series.
In The Supernaturalist, published in 2004 for older children, fourteen-year-old orphan Cosmo Hill is rescued from a strange blue life-sucking parasite by a gang of kids ('The Supernaturalists') out torid
to rid the world of these creatures. Cosmo joins them and enters a world of corruption and adventure. Eoin Colfer has hinted at a possible sequel to this book, some time in the future.
The Supernaturalist - 2012 edition
Half Moon Investigations was first published in America in 2006 before release
release in the UK and...
Half Moon Investigations
Sebastian Charles & Rory Elrick in
and Ireland. on 1 June 2006. The paperback edition was released in the UK on 5 July 2007. It tells the story of 12-year-old Fletcher Moon, the youngest qualified detective in the world. The book was adapted as a 10-episode television series which was shown on the BBC in January 2009.
Airman, published in 2008 isa400
is a 400-page historical novel set in the 19th century. It is an old-fashioned adventure story on a grand scale which will appeal to many adults as well as the teenagers for whom it was written. This best-sellling novel was shortlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal.
Douglas Adams had only completed five novels in his series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at thetim
the time of his death in 2001. He had always intended there to be a sixth book, and Eoin Colfer was approached by Adams' widow Jane, tow
to write that sixth book. Colfer commented, "For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to doit
Eoin Colfer signing for And Another Thing
do it in the real world...It is a gift from the gods. So, thank you Thor and Odin." Called And Another Thing, it was published in 2009.
Plugged (published in 2011) is Colfer's first crime novel, and is aimed at an adult audience. The main character is Dan, an Irishman who finds himself embroiled in a world of murder, kidnapping and corrupt cops in New Jersey.
Colfer's publishers, Puffin Books, have revealed that a new series by him will be published in 2013. WARP (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program) is described by Colfer as "Oliver Twist meets The Matrix", with the first book featuring a Victorian Boy called Riley who goes on the run in twenty-first century London, pursued bya
The first three Artemis Fowl books along with The Supernaturalist, now have fully illustrated versions known as 'graphic novels'.
by a ruthless assassain from his own time.
Graphic novel version of
A Giovanni Rigano illustration from the graphic
novel version of Artemis Fowl
novels'. The texts have been prepared by comics veteran Andrew Donkin and Eoin Colfer himself, while the superb illustrations are drawn by the Italian artist Giovanni Rigano, and coloured by Paolo Lamanna.
Eoin Colfer continues to live and work in Wexford with his wife Jackie and his two sons Finn (b.1997) and Sean (b.2003).
1998 White Raven Award for Benny and Omar
2001 Bisto Merit Award for Wish List
2001 British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year for Artemis Fowl
2001 Whitbread Children's Book Award for Artemis Fowl
2002 WH Smith People's Choice Award for Artemis Fowl
2003 Irish World Literature Award
2004 German Children's Book of the Year for Artemis Fowl
2010 Independent Booksellers' Book Prize for Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
Lewisham, in July 2010
Eoin Colfer reads from The Atlantis Complex at the
launch of the book at Forest Hills School,
Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl (Official Website)