Matt Haig

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Matt Haig
Haig at Foyle's Bookstore, London, February 2016
Haig at Foyle's Bookstore, London, February 2016
Born (1975-07-03) 3 July 1975 (age 47)
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
OccupationJournalist, author
Alma materUniversity of Hull
SpouseAndrea Semple

Matt Haig (born 3 July 1975) is an English author and journalist. He has written both fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults, often in the speculative fiction genre.

Early life[edit]

Haig was born on 3 July 1975 in Sheffield.[1][2] He went on to study English and History at the University of Hull.[3]


Haig is the author of both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.[4] His work of non-fiction, Reasons to Stay Alive, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and was in the UK top 10 for 46 weeks. His bestselling children's novel, Father Christmas and Me, is currently[when?] being adapted for film, produced by StudioCanal and Blueprint Pictures.[citation needed]

His novels are often dark and quirky takes on family life. The Last Family in England retells Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 with the protagonists as dogs. His second novel Dead Fathers Club is based on Hamlet, telling the story of an introspective 11-year-old dealing with the recent death of his father and the subsequent appearance of his father's ghost. His third adult novel, The Possession of Mr Cave, deals with an obsessive father desperately trying to keep his teenage daughter safe. His children's novel, Shadow Forest, is a fantasy that begins with the horrific death of the protagonists' parents. It won the Nestlé Children's Book Prize in 2007.[5] He followed it with the sequel, Runaway Troll, in 2008.[citation needed]

Haig's vampire novel The Radleys was published in 2011.[6] In 2013, he published The Humans. It is the story of an alien who takes the identity of a university lecturer whose work in mathematics threatens the stability of the planet who must also cope with the home life which accompanies his task.[citation needed]

In 2017, Haig published How to Stop Time, a novel about a man who appears to be 40 but has, in fact, lived for more than 400 years and has met Shakespeare, Captain Cook and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In an interview with The Guardian, Haig revealed the book has been optioned by StudioCanal films, and Benedict Cumberbatch had been "lined up to star" in the film adaptation.[7] Reasons to Stay Alive won the Books Are My Bag Readers' Awards in 2016 and How to Stop Time was nominated in 2017.[8] In August 2018, he wrote lyrics for English singer and songwriter Andy Burrows's music album, the title of which was derived from Haig's book Reasons to Stay Alive.[9]

In 2020, Matt Haig released his novel The Midnight Library about a young woman named Nora Seed who is unhappy with her choices in life. During the night she tries to kill herself but ends up in a library managed by her school librarian, Mrs. Elm. The library is between life and death with millions of books filled with stories of her life had she made some decisions differently. In this library, she then tries to find the life in which she's the most content.[10] It was shortlisted for the 2021 British Book Awards "Fiction book of the year".[11] The Midnight Library was adapted for radio and broadcast in ten episodes on BBC Radio 4 in December 2020.[12]

In 2021, Haig appeared on Storybound, accompanied by an original score from Robert Wynia.[13]

The Comfort Book was released on 1 July 2021.[14]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2015, Haig was married to Andrea Semple, and they lived in Brighton, Sussex, with their two children and a dog.[3][15] The children were homeschooled.[16]

Haig identifies as an atheist.[15] He has said that books are his one true faith, and the library is his church.[17]

Some of Haig's work—especially part of the non-fiction books—is inspired by the mental breakdown he suffered from when he was 24 years old.[18] He still occasionally suffers from anxiety.[19]



Children's books[edit]

  • Shadow Forest (2007); US title, Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest
  • Runaway Troll (Cape, 2008); US title, Samuel Blink and the Runaway Troll
  • To Be A Cat (Atheneum, 2013)
  • Echo Boy (Bodley, 2014)
  • A Boy Called Christmas (Canongate Books, 2015)
  • The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Canongate Books, 2016)
  • Father Christmas and Me (Canongate Books, 2017)
  • The Truth Pixie (Canongate Books, 2018)
  • Evie and the Animals (Canongate Books, 2019)
  • The Truth Pixie Goes to School (Canongate Books, 2019)
  • Evie in the Jungle (Canongate Books, 2020)


  • How Come You Don't Have An E-Strategy (Kogan Page, 2002)
  • Brand Failures (Kogan Page, 2003)
  • Brand Royalty (Kogan Page, 2004)
  • Brand Success (Kogan Page, 2011)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive (Canongate Books, 2015)
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet (Canongate Books, 2018)
  • The Comfort Book (Canongate Books, 2021)


  1. ^ Matt Haig (@matthaig1) (3 July 2014). "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!! I AM TYPING THIS ON A NEW COMPUTER! I HAVE BOOKS AND SOCKS AND WORLD PEACE. I LOVE YOU. BYE. X". Twitter. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  2. ^ Kidd, James (29 November 2015). "Matt Haig interview: The writer hopes his new book will help him banish the ghosts of Christmas past". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Matt Haig: "We live in a world designed to make us feel we're constantly missing out"". Cambridge News. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  4. ^ Matt Haig at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Nestlé Children's Book Prize 2007". Book Trust. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Shrigley, Matt Haig to Canongate". Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  7. ^ Guest, Katy (30 June 2017). "Matt Haig: 'I think books can save us. They sort of saved me'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Books Are My Bag". Matt Haig. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  9. ^ Maine, Samantha (8 August 2018). "Former Razorlight/We Are Scientists member Andy Burrows has created an album with best-selling author Matt Haig". NME. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  10. ^ Pulley, Natasha (27 August 2020). "The Midnight Library by Matt Haig review – a celebration of life's possibilities". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Books of the Year: Fiction". British Book Awards 2021. The Bookseller. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  12. ^ Writer: Matt Haig; Reader: Bryony Hannah; Abridger & Producer: Jeremy Osborne (7 December 2020). "The Midnight Library by Matt Haig". The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Announcing Season 4 of the Storybound Podcast". 4 June 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  14. ^ "The Comfort Book will be out July 1st". Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  15. ^ a b Duerden, Nick (22 March 2015). "Matt Haig interview: The author on books as antidepressants, finding religion in Shakespeare and why country music is good for the soul". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  16. ^ Haig, Matt (29 November 2015). "School's out". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  17. ^ Martin Wroe (10 April 2015). "Now Me's message to Then Me". Church Times. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  18. ^ Moore, Anna (17 November 2018). "Matt Haig: 'I wanted to end it all, but surviving and thriving is the lesson I pass on'". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  19. ^ "I will always have little patches. [...] Beating anxiety isn't for me about getting rid of anxiety. It is about being able to walk through it". Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.

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