Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Ruiz Zafón was born in the city of Barcelona. Growing up in Spain, he began his working life by making money in advertising. His grandparents had worked in a factory and his father sold insurance. In the 1990s Ruiz Zafón moved to Los Angeles where he worked briefly in screen writing. He was fluent in English.
Ruiz Zafón’s first novel, El príncipe de la niebla 1993 (The Prince of Mist, published in English in 2010), earned the Edebé literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three additional young adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche (1994), Las luces de septiembre (1995) and Marina (1999).
In 2001 he published his first adult novel La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind, Lucia Graves’ English translation published in 2004), a Gothic mystery that involves Daniel Sempere’s quest to track down the man responsible for destroying every book written by author Julian Carax. The novel has sold millions of copies worldwide and more than a million copies in the UK alone. Since its publication, La sombra del viento has garnered critical acclaim around the world and has won many international awards.
Ruiz Zafón’s next novel, El juego del ángel, was published in April 2008. The English edition, The Angel’s Game, was also translated by Lucia Graves. It is a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind, also set in Barcelona, but during the 1920s and 1930s. It follows (and is narrated by) David Martín, a young writer who is approached by a mysterious figure to write a book. Ruiz Zafón intended it to be included in a four-book series along with The Shadow of the Wind.
The next book in the cycle, El prisionero del cielo, appeared in 2011. It returns to The Shadow of the Wind’s Daniel Sempere and his travel back to the 1940s to resolve a buried secret. The novel was published in English in July 2012 as The Prisoner of Heaven.
The Labyrinth of Spirits (original title: El laberinto de los espíritus) is the fourth and final book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The novel was initially released on 17 November 2016 in Spain and Latin America by Spanish publisher Planeta. HarperCollins published the English translation by Lucia Graves, which was released on 18 September 2018.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s works have been published in 45 countries and have been translated into more than 40 different languages. According to these figures, Ruiz Zafón is the most widely published contemporary Spanish writer, followed by Javier Sierra, whose works have been published in 42 countries, and Juan Gómez-Jurado, whose works have been published in 41 countries.