AustLit logo
Garth Nix Garth Nix i(A7425 works by) (a.k.a. Garth Richard Nix)
Born: Established: 1963 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Garth Nix was born in Melbourne in 1963 and moved to Canberra soon thereafter. After leaving school, Nix joined the Army Reserve and enjoyed being a part-time soldier for the next five years. On a trip to England and Europe, Nix wrote a few stories, one of which, 'Sam, Cars and Cuckoo', became his first published short story in 1984.

While working in a book shop in Canberra, Nix began writing his first novel, The Ragwitch, which was published in 1990 in Australia and in 1994 in the US. He graduated with a degree in professional writing from the University of Canberra in 1996. Nix worked for several years in the publishing business in Sydney before travelling extensively including taking the overland route from London to Pakistan, tracing the footsteps of Alexander the Great. During that journey, Nix wrote part of his next book Sabriel, a fantasy novel for young adults, about a magical girl from a very different world, which won several awards and was short-listed for six US State awards. He managed to work and write part-time for several years before becoming a full-time writer at the end of 2001.

Nix's followed Sabriel with the standalone novel Shade's Children (1997) before returning to the Old Kingdom with a follow-up to Sabriel: Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (2001), which won the 2002 Adelaide Festival Award for Children's Literature. The third in the series, Abhorsen, was published in 2003. Clariel followed in 2014 and the final novel, Goldenhand, in 2016. The Old Kingdom series (including collections of short stories) has won national and international awards including the Aurealis Award (four times), the American Library Association Honor Book listings (twice), and the Ditmar Award: Goldenhand was nominated for both the Carnegie Medal and a Locus Award.

Standalone novels for young adults include A Confusion of Princes, Newt's Emerald, and Frogkisser!: the latter, illustrated by Kathleen Jennings, brought Nix a second nomination for a Carnegie Medal.

His works for younger readers include Serena and the Sea Serpent (2000) and the six-book sequence The Seventh Tower (2000). More recently, he has collaborated with Sean Williams on the series Troubletwisters and Have Sword, Will Travel. His short stories, which he began in 1984, also regularly attract award nominations: he won the Aurealis Award for Best Short Fantasy Story in 2007 with 'Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War Again'.

Most Referenced Works


  • Voted number 39 in the Booktopia Top 50 Favourite Australian Authors for 2018

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Terciel and Elinor Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 22585181 2021 single work novel young adult

'Bestselling novelist Garth Nix returns to the Old Kingdom for the never-before-told love story of Sabriel's parents, Terciel and Elinor, and the charter magic that brought them together - and threatened to tear them apart. A long-awaited prequel to a classic fantasy series.

'In the Old Kingdom, a land of ancient and often terrible magics, eighteen-year-old orphan Terciel learns the art of necromancy from his great-aunt Tizanael. But not to raise the Dead, rather to lay them to rest. He is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, and Tizanael is the Abhorsen, the latest in a long line of people whose task it is to make sure the Dead do not return to Life.

'Across the Wall in Ancelstierre, a steam-age country where magic usually does not work, nineteen-year-old Elinor lives a secluded life, her only friends an old governess and an even older groom who was once a famous circus performer. Her mother is a tyrant, who is feared by all despite her sickness and impending death . . . but perhaps there is even more to fear from that.

'Elinor does not know she is deeply connected to the Old Kingdom, nor that magic can sometimes come across the Wall, until a plot by an ancient enemy of the Abhorsens brings Terciel and Tizanael to Ancelstierre. In a single day of fire and death and loss, Elinor finds herself set on a path which will take her into the Old Kingdom, into Terciel's life, and will embroil her in the struggle of the Abhorsens against the Dead who will not stay dead.' (Publication summary)

2022 finalist Locus Awards Young Adult Novel
2021 finalist Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction Young Adult Division Novel
2022 shortlisted CBCA Book of the Year Awards Book of the Year: Older Readers
2022 CBCA Book of the Year Awards Notable Book Older Readers
2022 longlisted Indie Awards Young Adult
Last amended 10 Dec 2019 15:49:23
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: