Jasper Fforde (born 11 January 1961) is a British novelist. Fforde's first novel, The Eyre Affair, was published in 2001. Fforde is mainly known for his Thursday Next novels, although he has written another series, the Nursery Crime Stories series. He is starting another series of books entitled Shades of Grey.
Fforde was born in London on 11 January 1961. His father was John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England (whose signature appeared on sterling banknotes during his time in office). He is the cousin of the author Katie Fforde's husband, the grandson of Joseph Retinger and a great-grandson of E. D. Morel.
Fforde was educated at the progressive Dartington Hall School, and his early career was spent as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films, including The Trial, Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment.
Fforde published his first novel, The Eyre Affair, in 2001.
His published books include a series of novels starring the literary detective Thursday Next: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, and First Among Sequels. The Eyre Affair had received 76 publisher rejections before its eventual acceptance for publication. Fforde won the Wodehouse prize for comic fiction in 2004 for The Well of Lost Plots.
The Big Over Easy (2005), which shares a similar setting with the Next novels, is a reworking of his first written novel, which initially failed to find a publisher. Its original title was Who Killed Humpty Dumpty?, and later had the working title of Nursery Crime, which is the title now used to refer to this series of books. These books describe the investigations of DCI Jack Spratt. The follow-up to The Big Over Easy, The Fourth Bear, was published in July 2006 and focuses on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Fforde's books are noted for their profusion of literary allusions and word play, tightly scripted plots, and playfulness with the conventions of traditional genres. His works usually contain various elements of metafiction, parody, and fantasy. None of his books has a chapter 13 except in the table of contents where there is a title of the chapter and a page number. In many of the books the page number is, in fact, the page right before the first page of chapter 14. However, in some the page number is just a page somewhere in chapter 12.
In 2006 Jasper Fforde said:
The Thursday Next series has four books, so the next book I'm going to be writing is five, so we're going to go back to her for a book and after that I don't know, I might experiment with a new series or two. It's an exciting time because I don't know what's going to come out in '09. I am going to have a book for '09 but I don't know what it's about, and that's very exciting because where is it, right now? It's going to be there in two years' time but it's not here now. I pledged a book a year for 10 years to try and get established and that finishes in four years and I said to myself that I could have a year off then. So I'm looking forward to that.
Fforde later stated that there would be "No new Fforde book for 2008".
Shades of Grey, the first novel in a new series, was published December 2009 in the US and January 2010 in the UK, having been originally announced by publishers as available in summer 2008 and then July 2009. According to the (less recent) First Among Sequels Special Features section on Fforde's website, the sixth Thursday Next novel, entitled One of our Thursdays is Missing, is scheduled to be published in January 2011. However, he only started writing the book on December 1, 2009.
Fforde also plans a third Nursery Crime novel, The Last Great Tortoise Race:
The Last Great Tortoise Race will be the third and final installment of the NCD series. Current Publishing schedule: Spring 2012.
In June 2010 it was announced via the author's website that Fforde will publish his first children's book, The Last Dragonslayer, in November 2010. The book will be the first in a trilogy.
Jasper Fforde published a story in the Welsh edition of the UK Big Issue magazine (a magazine distributed by the homeless) called "We are all alike" (previously called "The Man with no face") on Sep 19, 2009He also published "The Locked Room Mystery mystery" (sic) in the UK Guardian newspaper on Monday 24 November 2007 and this story remains online.. The U.S. version of Well of Lost Plots features a bonus chapter (34a) called Heavy Weather, a complete story in itself, featuring Thursday Next in her Bellman status.