Garth Nix

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I don't believe authors need to keep any specific values or ideas in mind while they are writing for children, but I do think authors need to be aware of their audience, and of the effect their work may have.

Garth Nix (born 1963) is an Australian author of fantasy novels for young adults.


  • I don't believe authors need to keep any specific values or ideas in mind while they are writing for children, but I do think authors need to be aware of their audience, and of the effect their work may have. So if they want to address particularly sensitive topics or taboos, they have to do so consciously and carefully. This is very different to toeing a particular moral line or leaving things out.
    Certainly I don't think good always has to triumph over evil; it depends on the story and the aims of the book. For example, I could envisage telling a story where the inaction of people leads to the triumph of evil. But I would include the hope that this would lead to the people involved doing better next time. Is that story then really about the triumph of evil, or is it about the awakening of opposition to evil?

Shade's Children (1997)

  • Gold-Eye's Change Vision suddenly gripped him, showing him a picture of the unpleasantly close future, the soon-to-be-now.
    Doors slid open at each end of the carriage, forced apart by metal-gauntleted hands four times the size of Gold-Eye's own. Fog no longer fell in lazy swirls, but danced and spiraled crazily as huge shapes lumbered in, moving to the pile of blankets. . . .
    Gold-Eye didn't wait to see more. He came out of the vision and took the escape route he'd planned months before, when he'd first found the carriage. Lifting a trapdoor in the floor, he dropped down, down to the cold steel rails.
  • The Trackers were on the move again, spreading out to search. It sounded like a trio on each side of the train, coming toward him.
    Gold-Eye pictured them in his head, trying to get his Change Vision to show him exactly where they were.
    But the Change Vision came and went when it chose, and couldn't be controlled.
  • Soon the Myrmidons would surround him, silver nets shooting out to catch him in their sticky tracery. Then a Winger would come to take him away. Back to the Dorms. Or if he was old enough . . . straight to the Meat Factory.

Old Kingdom series (The Abhorsen Trilogy)

Sabriel (1995)

ISBN 0007137303
  • A year ago, I turned the final page of The Book of the Dead. I don't feel young any more.
  • I am a necromancer, but not of the common sort, while others of the art raise the dead, I lay them to rest - or try too - and those that will not rest I bind, for I am Abhorsen...father of Sabriel
  • “Toys, Abhorsen. And too late. Much too late.”

    It was not just words he spoke, but power, Free Magic power that froze Sabriel’s nerves, caught at her muscles. Desperately, she struggled to ring the bells, but her wrists were locked in place…

    Tantalizingly slowly, Kerrigor glided forward, till he was a mere arm’s length away. Towering over her like some colossal statue of rough-hewn night, his breath rolling down on her with the stench of a thousand abattoirs.

    Someone– a girl quietly coughing out her last breath on the floor– touched Sabriel’s ankle with a light caress. A small spark of golden Charter Magic came from that dying touch, slowly swelling into Sabriel’s veins, traveling upwards, warming joints, freeing muscles. At last it reached her wrists and hands–and the bells rang out.

    It was not the clear, true sound it should be, for somehow the bulk of Kerrigor took the sound in and warped it– but it had an effect. Kerrigor slid back, and was diminished, till he was a little more than twice Sabriel’s height.

    But he was not subject to Sabriel’s will. Saraneth had not bound him, and Kibeth had only forced him back.

    Sabriel rang the bells again, concentrating on the difficult counterpoint between them, forcing all her will into their magic. Kerrigor would fall under her domination, he would walk where she willed…

Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (2001)

ISBN 000713732X
  • No mother, no father, no Sight.
  • Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
  • The Clayr Saw a sword and so I was.
    Remember the Wallmakers. Remember me.
  • The Clayr Saw, the Wallmaker made me, the King quenched me, the Abhorsen wields me so that no Dead shall walk in life. For this is not their path
  • "So are you saying that somebody went to all the trouble to make you a crypt 10,000 years ago on the off chance that you would show up, walk in, and have a convenient heart attack?"
  • "I once was many things, but now I am only several"' ~ Mogget
  • "Wake me when whatever terrible thing is about to happen happens, or if it appears I might get wet."' ~ Mogget
  • "Choosers will be beggars if the begging’s not their choosing" Disreputable Dog
  • "Time and Death sleep side by side. Both are in Astarael's domain" Disreputable Dog
  • "When ancient forces stir many things are woken" Disreputable Dog
  • I’ll sing you a song of the long ago.
    Seven shine the shiners, oh!
    What did the Seven do way back when?
    Why, they wove the Charter then!
    Five for the warp, from beginning to end.
    Two for the woof, to make and mend.
    That’s the Seven, but what of the Nine-
    What of the two who chose not to shine?
    The Eighth did hide, hide all away,
    But the Seven caught him and made him pay.
    The Ninth was strong and fought with might,
    But lone Orannis was put out of the light,
    Broken in two and buried under hill,
    Forever to lie there wishing us ill.
  • Five great Charters knit the land.
    Together linked hand and hand.
    One in the people who wear the crown.
    Two in the folk who keep the Dead down.
    Three and five became stone and mortar.
    Four sees all in frozen water.
  • When the Dead do walk, seek water’s run,
    For this the Dead will always shun.
    Swift river’s best or broadest lake
    To ward the Dead and haven make.
    If water fails thee, fire’s thy friend;
    If neither guards, it will be thy end.

Abhorsen (2003)

ISBN 0060528737
  • For everything and everyone there is a time to die. Some do not know it, or would delay it, but its truth cannot be denied. Not when you look into the stars of the ninth gate.

Interview at KidsReads (2003)

"Garth Nix" at (Scholastic: 2003)
  • Teachers are very undervalued for what they do.
  • If you like what you are writing, just write. Try to keep going before you stop to take a break. Keep going back before too much time has passed. And just stay with it.

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