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Patrick Ness (born October 17, 1971) is an American-born British author, journalist and lecturer who lives in London and holds dual citizenship. He is best known for his books for young adults, including the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls.
Ness won the annual Carnegie Medal from the British librarians both in 2011 and in 2012, for Monsters of Men and A Monster Calls, recognising each as the best new book for children or young adults published in the U.K.[a] He is one of seven writers to win two Medals (no one has won three) and the second to win consecutively.
Patrick Ness was born in the U.S. on Fort Belvoir army base, near Alexandria, Virginia, where his father was a drill sergeant in the US Army. They moved to Hawaii, where he lived until he was six, then spent the next ten years in Washington state, before moving to Los Angeles. Ness studied English Literature at the University of Southern California.
After graduating, he worked as corporate writer for a cable company. He published his first story in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on his first novel when he moved to London in 1999.
Ness taught creative writing at Oxford University and has written and reviewed for The Daily Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian. He reviews for The Guardian as of July 2012[update]. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and was the first Writer in Residence for Booktrust.
Walker Books has published all four children's novels by Ness to date, one annually from 2008 to 2011. According to news coverage, "He turned to children's fiction after he had the idea for a world where it is impossible to escape information overload, and knew it was right for teenagers."
The first was The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers. The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men were sequels to The Knife; jointly they are called the "Chaos Walking trilogy" and The Knife has been reissued with a front cover banner "Chaos Walking: Book One". Ness has also published three short stories in the Chaos Walking universe, the prequels "The New World" and "The Wide, Wide Sea", and "Snowscape", set after the events of Monsters of Men. The short stories are available as free-to-download e-books, and have been included in the 2013 UK print editions of the novels.
A Monster Calls (2011) originated with Siobhan Dowd, another writer with the same editor at Walker, Denise Johnstone-Burt. Before her August 2007 death, Dowd and Johnstone-Burt had discussed the story and contracted for Dowd to write it. Afterward, Walker arranged separately with Ness to write and Jim Kay to illustrate, and those two completed the book without meeting. Ness won the Carnegie and Kay won the companion CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (established 1955), the first time one book has won both medals.
On 7 May 2013, he was revealed to be the author of Tip of the Tongue, the May e-short featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa as part Puffin's eleven Doctor Who e-shorts in honor of the show's 50th anniversary.
His next book, More Than This was released on 5 September 2013.
The Knife of Never Letting Go won numerous awards including the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and the 2008 Tiptree Award. It was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. The Ask and the Answer won the 2009 Costa Book Award in the children's book category. It, too, made the Carnegie shortlist. Monsters of Men won the CILIP Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award.