Joe Abercrombie was born in Lancaster, England, on the last day of 1974. He was educated at the stiflingly all-boy Lancaster Royal Grammar School, where he spent much of his time playing video games, rolling dice, and drawing maps of places that don’t exist. He went on to Manchester University to study Psychology. The dice and the maps stopped, but the video games continued. Having long dreamed of single-handedly redefining the fantasy genre, he started to write an epic trilogy based around the misadventures of thinking man’s barbarian Logen Ninefingers. The result was pompous toss, and swiftly abandoned.
Joe then moved to London, lived in a slum with two men on the borders of madness, and found work making tea for minimum wage at a TV Post-Production company. Two years later he left to become a freelance film editor, and has worked since on a range of documentaries, awards shows, music videos, and concerts for artists ranging from Barry White to Coldplay.
This job gave him lots of time off, and realising that he needed something more useful to do than playing video games, in 2001 he sat down once again to write an epic fantasy trilogy based around the misadventures of thinking man’s barbarian Logen Ninefingers. This time, having learned not to take himself too seriously in the six years since the first effort, the results were a great deal more interesting.
With heroic help and support from his family the first volume, The Blade Itself, was completed in 2004. Following a heart-breaking trail of rejection at the hands of several of Britain’s foremost literary agencies, The First Law trilogy was snatched up by Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz in 2005 in a seven-figure deal (if you count the pence columns). A year later The Blade Itself was unleashed on an unsuspecting public. It now has publishers in thirty countries. The sequels, Before They are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings were published in 2007 and 2008, when Joe was a finalist for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. Best Served Cold, a standalone book set in the same world, was published in June 2009, and a second standalone, The Heroes, came in January 2011 and made no. 3 on the Sunday Times Hardcover Bestseller List. A third standalone, Red Country, was both a Sunday Times and New York Times Hardcover Bestseller in October 2012.
The first part of his viking-inspired Shattered Sea series for young and old adults, Half a King, came out in July 2014, when it won the Locus award for best young adult novel. The other two books, Half the World, and Half a War, followed in January and July 2015.
His collection of short fiction, Sharp Ends was published in 2016. A new trilogy set in the world of the First Law, The Age of Madness, began in September 2019 with A Little Hatred. The Trouble with Peace followed in September 2020, and the final part, The Wisdom of Crowds in September 2021.
Joe now lives in Bath with his wife, Lou, his daughters Grace and Eve, and his son Teddy. He spends most of his time writing edgy yet humorous fantasy novels…
Read them. Watch them. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be so excited you might even wet your pants a little.
- 2021, on video with Daniel Greene and Evan Winter.
- 2019, a profile in the Guardian.
- 2018, Joe’s most recent AMA on reddit with loads of questions.
- 2017, over an hour of podcast on Author Stories with Hank Garner.
- 2016, another Ask Me Anything on Reddit with over 500 questions.
- 2014, yet another Ask Me Anything on Reddit with over 500 questions.
- 2014, a wide ranging conversation on the Rocket Talk podcast with Justin Landon.
- 2014, a podcast with Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolfe on Half a King, grimdark, epic fantasy, and much more.
- 2012, an interview with my US publisher, Orbit on Best Served Cold.
- 2012, a podcast interview with Speculate!
- 2011, at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist on The Heroes and your money.
- 2011, a podcast interview on Sword and Laser.
- 2009, talking to Wired.com’s GeekDad about fatherhood and writing.
- 2008, a three part interview with Juliet Marillier on the writerly craft.
- 2008, at A Dribble of Ink, on Cockiness, Top Marks, and Last Argument of Kings.
- 2007, an early interview with Fantasy Book Critic, Mihir Wanchoo
You can catch me ranting, pontificating, discussing my work with members of the public, and even (very occasionally) being slagged off, at:
- The Other Fantasy section of Westeros.org, the George R. R. Martin Forum.
- r/fantasy, the reddit fantasy community.
- r/TheFirstLaw, a subreddit dedicated to the First Law.