Patrick Ness

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Patrick Ness

Ness in 2017
Ness in 2017
Born (1971-10-17) 17 October 1971 (age 51)
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, U.S.
  • Author
  • writer
  • producer
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
GenreYoung adult
(m. 2013, divorced)
Nick Coveney
(m. 2022)

Patrick Ness FRSL (born 17 October 1971) is an American-British author, journalist, lecturer, and screenwriter. Born in the United States, Ness moved to 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 in 2011 and in 2012, for Monsters of Men and A Monster Calls.[3][4][5][6][a] He is one of seven writers to win two Medals, and the second to win consecutively.

He wrote the screenplay of the 2016 film adaptation of A Monster Calls, and was the creator and writer of the Doctor Who spin-off series Class.

Early life[edit]

Ness was born near the Fort Belvoir Army base, near Alexandria, Virginia, where his father was a lieutenant 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's first novel, The Crash of Hennington, was published in 2003,[7] and was followed by his short story collection, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, in 2004.[8]

Ness's first young adult novel was The Knife of Never Letting Go. It won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 2008.[9][10] The book was followed by The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men. Together, the three books make up the Chaos Walking trilogy. Ness has also written three short stories set in the Chaos Walking universe; the prequels "The New World" and "The Wide, Wide Sea", and "Snowscape", which is set after the events of Monsters of Men. The short stories are available as free-to-download e-books,[11] and have been included in the 2013 UK print editions of the novels.[12]

A Monster Calls originated with the Irish writer, Siobhan Dowd. Dowd had been diagnosed with cancer and was unable to complete the story before she died in 2007. Dowd and Ness shared an editor at Walker, Denise Johnstone-Burt, and after Dowd's death, Walker arranged for Ness to complete the story from her notes. Ness says his only guideline was to write a book he thought Dowd would have liked. Jim Kay was hired to illustrate the book, and the two completed the book without meeting. Ness won the Carnegie and Kay won the companion Kate Greenaway Medal, the first time one book has won both medals.[13][14]

On 7 May 2013, Ness 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 honour of the show's 50th anniversary.[15]

His fourth young adult novel, More Than This, was published on 5 September 2013.[16] It later made the Carnegie Medal shortlist of 2015.[17]

The Crane Wife, Ness's third novel for adults, was published on 30 December 2014.

In 2014, Ness delivered the keynote speech at the Children's and Young Adult Program of the Berlin International Literature Festival.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, was published 25 August 2015 in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, and 5 October 2015 in Canada and the United States.

On 1 October 2015, the BBC announced that Ness would be writing a Doctor Who spin-off entitled Class.[18] The resulting eight-part series aired on BBC Three's online channel toward the end of 2016. The BBC cancelled Class after one series.

Release, was published on 4 May 2017, described by Ness as a "private and intense book" with more personal inspiration than any before it.[19]

In June 2021, Ness was said to be preparing a prequel script to the Napoleonic sea adventure movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, based on the works of Patrick O'Brian.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Ness was naturalised as a British citizen in 2005. He entered into a civil partnership with his partner in 2006, less than two months after the Civil Partnership Act came into force.[21] In February 2023, Patrick disclosed on Instagram that he had married Nick Coveney in Las Vegas in October 2022. He also stated that within the previous "4 or 5 years" he had gotten divorced.[2]

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 has been a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, and was the first Writer in Residence for Booktrust.[22]

In 2023, Ness was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[23]


The Knife of Never Letting Go won numerous awards including the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize,[9] and the 2008 Tiptree Award.[24] It was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.[25]

The Ask and the Answer won the 2009 Costa Book Award in the children's book category. It, too, made the Carnegie shortlist.[25]

Monsters of Men won the CILIP Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award.[26]

More Than This made the Carnegie shortlist.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here received many awards, including six starred reviews and the Kirkus Best Book of the Year.[27]



  • —— (2003). The Crash of Hennington.
  • —— (2013). The Crane Wife (hardcover ed.). Canongate Books. pp. 1–311. ISBN 978-0857868718.

Novels for young adults[edit]

Chaos Walking series[edit]

  1. The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008)
  2. The Ask and the Answer (2009)
  3. Monsters of Men (2010)
  • Short stories
    1.5. "The New World" (2009)
    2.5. "The Wide, Wide Sea" (2013)
    3.5. "Snowscape" (2013)


Short stories[edit]

  • "Different for Boys", collected in Losing it (2010)[28]
  • "Doctor Who: Tip of the Tongue" (2013), collected in Thirteen Doctors, 13 Stories (2019)
  • "This Whole Demoing Thing", collected in Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales, ed. Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant (2014)


  • Topics About Which I Know Nothing (2004), collection of 11 short stories:
    "Implied Violence", "The Way All Trends Do", "Ponce de Leon is a Retired Married Couple From Toronto", "Jesus' Elbows and Other Christian Urban Myths", "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?", "Sydney is a City of Jaywalkers", "2,115 Opportunities", "The Motivations of Sally Rae Wentworth, Amazon", "The Seventh International Military War Games Dance Committee Quadrennial Competition and Jamboree", "The Gifted", "Now That You've Died"


Year Title Credited as Notes Ref.
Writer Executive Producer
2016 A Monster Calls Yes Yes Based on his novel A Monster Calls [29]
2016 Class Yes Yes Doctor Who television spin-off; also creator (8 episodes) [18]
2021 Chaos Walking Yes Co-screenwriter (with Christopher Ford). Based on his novel The Knife of Never Letting Go. [30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The publication years defining the two Carnegie Medals were September to August 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, approximately the latest completed school years.


  1. ^ Jones, Nicolette (18 May 2017). "Class writer Patrick Ness on his new novel about a day in the life of a teenager coming out". RadioTimes. Retrieved 13 March 2023. Ness, who married his civil partner in 2013...
  2. ^ a b Patrick Ness [@patricknessbooks] (23 February 2023). "I don't share many personal details online (and still won't), but after a very rough four or five years in which I got divorced, I got married in Vegas on the spur of the moment last October to @nmjcoveney and it's just the best thing". Retrieved 23 February 2023 – via Instagram.
  3. ^ (Carnegie Winner 2011) Archived 29 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Press Desk: 'Chaos' Reigns, Patrick Ness Wins ...". Press release 23 June 2011. CILIP. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  5. ^ (Carnegie Winner 2012). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Press Desk: An Historic Moment in Children's Literature, Patrick Ness Wins ..." Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Press release 14 June 2012, with press kit. CILIP. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  7. ^ "The Crash of Hennington". Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Topics about Which I Know Nothing". Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b Guardian children's fiction prize 2008 (top page). The Guardian. 12 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners", The Guardian, 12 March 2001. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Free brand new Chaos Walking short stories!!". 30 March 2013. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  12. ^ "UK Chaos Walking rejackets out today with new short stories!". 2 May 2013. Archived from the original on 17 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  13. ^ Patrick Ness and Jim Kay. "How we made A Monster Calls: As their book wins the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals ...", The Guardian, 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  14. ^ Lara Prendergast. "A Monster Calls", The Telegraph, 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  15. ^ Patrick Ness (7 May 2013). "Doctor Who: Tip of the Tongue by Patrick Ness – extract | Children's books". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  16. ^ Patrick on (29 August 2013). "Events! Lots of 'em! – Diary". Patrick Ness. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  17. ^ Emily Drabble, "Carnegie medal and Kate Greenaway 2015 shortlists announced", The Guardian, 17 March 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Doctor Who Spin Off: Class". Doctor Who. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  19. ^ Alex Moreland (6 May 2017). "Exclusive Interview: Best-selling author Patrick Ness on his new book Release, the future of his Doctor Who spinoff Class, and more!". Yahoo UK. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  20. ^ "New 'Master and Commander' Movie in Works at 20th Century; Patrick Ness Penning Prequel". 4 June 2021.
  21. ^ Ness, Patrick (24 June 2006). "We two boys together clinging". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  22. ^ "Patrick Ness - Literature". Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  23. ^ Creamer, Ella (12 July 2023). "Royal Society of Literature aims to broaden representation as it announces 62 new fellows". The Guardian.
  24. ^ Alison Flood. "Patrick Ness beats established writers to Booktrust teenage prize", The Guardian, 18 November 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  25. ^ a b Press Desk (directory). CILIP. Retrieved 8 August 2012. Quote: "media releases relating to the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards in date order." (2002 to 2006 releases concern 2001 to 2005 awards.)
  26. ^ "Arthur C Clarke Awards Nominees Announced". Dave Golder. SFX. 4 March 2011.
  27. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "The Rest of Us Just Live Here". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  28. ^ Review: Carroll, Cameron Woodhead and Steven (17 March 2023). "Shades of Dahl controversy in brilliant young adult novel". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  29. ^ The Deadline Team (9 April 2014). "Focus Dates 'A Monster Calls' For October 2016". Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  30. ^ Boone, Brian (26 June 2019). "What went wrong with Tom Holland's "unreleasable" movie". Retrieved 30 May 2020.

External links/sources[edit]