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Born in London, the daughter of Geoffrey Alderman, who is a specialist in Anglo-Jewish history, Alderman was educated at South Hampstead High School and Lincoln College, Oxford, where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Her uncle's suicide was a shock to the whole family and it reinforced Alderman's adherence to her parents' rules for fear of disrupting her family more. After she left Oxford, she found her way into children's publishing, then she worked for a law firm, editing their publications. They sent her to the United States and there she began to explore the world of fan fiction, focusing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She then went on to study creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a novelist. In 2007, The Sunday Times named her their Young Writer of the Year. In 2007 she was also named as one of the 25 Writers of the Future by Waterstones.
Alderman was the lead writer for Perplex City, an alternate reality game, at Mind Candy from 2004 through June 2007. She went on to become lead writer on the running app Zombies, Run! which launched in 2012. She writes a monthly technology column for The Guardian.
Alderman became an advocate for feminism in her teenage years and has since supported women's rights. The women's movement has inspired her works such as The Power. She advocates for young women to embrace their abilities and awaken the same empowerment in older generations of women. She does not agree with the ideology of men or women being superior to the other, but of the thought all people are equal and should be treated as such.
Alderman's literary début came in 2006 with Disobedience, a well-received, if somewhat controversial, novel about a North London rabbi's bisexual daughter living in New York, which won her the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers, the 2007 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and a feature as one of the Waterstones 25 Writers for the Future. It led her to reject her life as a practising Jew. "I went into the novel religious and by the end I wasn’t. I wrote myself out of it," she told Claire Armistead of The Guardian in 2016. Her second novel, The Lessons, was published in 2010.
Her third novel, The Liars' Gospel (Viking), with Jesus turned in to the Jewish preacher Yehoshuah, was published in paperback in 2012. Reviewing the book, Shoshi Ish-Horowicz in the Jewish Renaissance magazine described it as "an entertaining, engaging read" but found the story it told "uncomfortable and problematic. Your enjoyment of the novel will depend on how you respond to the premise that Jesus was, potentially, an 'inconsequential preacher'". Set in and around Jerusalem between Pompey's Siege of Jerusalem (63 BC) and Titus' Siege of Jerusalem (70), it is narrated in four main sections from the perspective of four key figures: Mary, Judas Iscariot, Caiaphas and Barabbas. All three novels have been serialised on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime.
She wrote the narrative for The Winter House, an online interactive linear short story visualized by Jey Biddulph. The project was commissioned by Booktrust as part of the Story campaign, supported by Arts Council England. Her Doctor Who novel Borrowed Time was published in June 2011.
In 2012, Alderman was selected as a protégée by Margaret Atwood as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, an international philanthropic programme that pairs masters in their disciplines with emerging talents for a year of one-to-one creative exchange. One result of this was her fourth novel, The Power (2016), a dystopian work influenced by and dedicated to Atwood. The Power won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2017. The novel was also named by Barack Obama on his list of favourite books of the year. Alderman has confirmed that she has sold the rights of The Power to Sister Pictures, the same company who produced Broadchurch, after receiving eleven offers. She is hoping for a multi-season run to really be able to explore and delve into the world she created in The Power.
Throughout Alderman's writing career, she has received many accolades and awards for her works. Most recently, Alderman won the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, for her novel, The Power. This award was given out in the UK and is one of the most prestigious awards for women's writing and creativity. One of her earliest awards was the Orange Award for New Writers, for her work, Disobedience. Alderman then followed up that award with the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award in 2006. In 2013, Alderman was named one of the best Young British Novelists, in Granta's once-a-decade list.
- Disobedience (2006)
- The Lessons (2010)
- Borrowed Time (2011)
- The Liars' Gospel (2012)
- The Power (2016)
- Kean, Danuta (7 June 2017). "Baileys prize goes to 'classic of the future' by Naomi Alderman". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Fox, Sue, "Relative Values: Geoffrey Alderman and his daughter, Naomi", The Sunday Times, 11 February 2007.
- Armiistead, Claire (28 October 2016), "Naomi Alderman: ‘I Went into the Novel Religious and by the End I Wasn’t. I Wrote Myself out of It’", The Guardian.
- "BBC NEWS | Entertainment | UK Authors of the Future Unveiled." 2007. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6665401.stm.
- "Presume not that I am the thing I was". leaving the house. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- "This is This Zombie Life". Zombies, Run!. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- "Archive Access - Granta Magazine". Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- La Ferla, R. "Naomi Alderman On The World That Yielded The Power". New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- Jilani, Sarah (26 October 2016). "Naomi Alderman interview: 'The book's not mine anymore, the rights are sold'". The Independent.
- "Interview: Naomi Alderman, author". The Scotsman. 11 April 2010.
- Armistead, Claire (28 October 2016). "Naomi Alderman: 'I went into the novel religious and by the end I wasn't. I wrote myself out of it'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
- Rabinovitch, Dina (4 March 2006). "This is Hendon: Disobedience by Naomi Alderman gives Dina Rabinovitch the small-town blues". The Guardian.
- Beresford, Lucy (2 July 2006). "A prize-winning portrait of a very unorthodox jew". The Telegraph.
- "New Writers", Women's Prize for Fiction.
- Ish-Horowicz, Shoshi (October 2012). "Books: The Liars' Gospel". Jewish Renaissance. 12 (1): 52.
- Holland, Tom (6 September 2012). "The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Leake, Mark (6 August 2015). "Naomi Alderman Mix 03 Writing Digital Keynote". Retrieved 20 October 2017 – via YouTube.
- "The Winter House". www.thewinterhouse.co.uk. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- Johnston, Rich, "Swapping Reputation for Time with the Doctor", Bleeding Cool, 5 May 2011.
- "Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative". Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative: A year of mentoring. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- Wood, Heloise, "The Power named among Obama's 'best books' of 2017", The Bookseller, 2 January 2018.
- Cowdrey, Katherine (16 December 2016), "Alderman’s ‘The Power’ to Be TV Series", The Bookseller.
- Ferla, Ruth La (28 April 2018). "Naomi Alderman on the World That Yielded 'The Power'" – via NYTimes.com.
- "Naomi Alderman - Literature". literature.britishcouncil.org.
- Personal blog
- Alderman at The Guardian – indexes her contributions
- Alderman at agent David Higham
- "Naomi Alderman's first novel ...", The Guardian, 20 Feb 2006, based on an interview
- Interview in Scotland on Sunday (April 2010) at The Scotsman
- "UK authors of the future unveiled" (2007) at BBC News
- Naomi Alderman at Library of Congress Authorities, with 7 catalogue records