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Course Hero, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed December 18, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Curious-Incident-of-the-Dog-in-the-Night-Time/.

Mark Haddon | Biography

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Early Writing Career

Born in Northampton, England, on September 26, 1962, Mark Haddon started his literary career writing and illustrating children's books. The 18 titles he published before penning his first adult novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, include Gilbert's Gobstopper (1987), Toni and the Tomato Soup (1988), Gridzbi Spudvetch! (1992), and Agent Z and the Killer Bananas (2001). Due in large part to his publishing success, Haddon transitioned to writing for children's television, including the British show Microsoap, which earned Haddon multiple awards, including the Royal Television Society's honor for Best Children's Drama.

Inspiration

After graduating from Merton College, Oxford in 1981, Haddon performed a series of odd jobs including work in a home for disabled people, some of whom suffered from autism. Christopher Boone, the protagonist of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is never formally diagnosed with autism or Asperger's syndrome, but he clearly presents characteristics common to such illnesses: brilliant math skills, the inability to read facial expressions, groaning and rocking, adherence to strict routines, and the dislike of being touched. While Haddon admits that Christopher likely belongs somewhere on the autism spectrum, a term that encompasses a group of developmental disorders, he claims to have done very little research on it while writing the novel because, "Imagination always trumps research. I thought that if I could make Christopher real to me then he'd be real to readers."

Marriage and Work

Haddon married British scholar Dr. Sos Eltis, and the couple had one son, Alfie. He has described himself as a vegetarian and an atheist. He has published three books since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, including The Red House (2012), and The Pier Falls and Other Stories (2016). Like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Haddon's second novel, A Spot of Bother (2006), features an unreliable narrator suffering with illness, in this case hypochondria, or the obsession with the idea of being sick. A Spot of Bother was met with criticism that Haddon exploits neuroses, or mental illnesses, and relies on gimmicks to tell a story.

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