Clive Barker in 2007 at the EMP/Science Fiction Museum in Seattle.
|Born||5 October 1952
Liverpool, England, U.K.
|Occupation||Author, film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, playwright, painter, illustrator & visual artist|
|Domestic partner(s)||David Armstrong|
Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories which established him as a leading young horror writer. He has since written many novels and other works, and his fiction has been adapted into motion pictures, notably the Hellraiser series.
Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. Barker lives in Los Angeles, California.
In 2003, Clive Barker received The Davidson/Valentini Award at the 15th GLAAD Media Awards. This award is presented "to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individual who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for any of those communities". While Barker is critical of organized religion, he has stated that he is a believer in both God and the afterlife, and that the Bible influences his work.
Clive Barker had said, "I want to be remembered as an imaginer, someone who used his imagination as a way to journey beyond the limits of self, beyond the limits of flesh and blood, beyond the limits of even perhaps life itself, in order to discover some sense of order in what appears to be a disordered universe. I'm using my imagination to find meaning, both for myself and, I hope, for my readers."
Fans have noticed of late that Barker's voice has become gravelly and coarse. He says in a December 2008 online interview (published March 2009) that this is due to polyps in his throat which were so severe that a doctor told him he was taking in ten percent of the air he was supposed to have been getting. He has had two surgeries to remove them and believes his resultant voice is an improvement over how it was prior to the surgeries. He said he did not have cancer and has given up cigars.
Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/fantasy, writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 - 6), and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved towards modern-day fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991) and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories. His most recent novel is Mister B. Gone (2007).
Barker's distinctive style is characterized by the notion of hidden fantastical worlds coexisting with our own, the role of sexuality in the supernatural and the construction of coherent, complex and detailed universes. Barker has referred to this style as "dark fantasy" or the "fantastique". His stories are notable for a deliberate blurring of the distinction between binary opposites such as hell and heaven, or pleasure and pain (the latter particularly so in The Hellbound Heart).
When the Books of Blood were first published in the United States in paperback, Stephen King was quoted on the book covers: "I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker." A critical analysis of Barker's work appears in S. T. Joshi's The Modern Weird Tale (2001). As for influences on his writing, Barker lists Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, William S. Burroughs, and Jean Cocteau, among others.
Barker has a keen interest in movie production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (aka Transmutations - 1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou. Displeased by how his material was handled, he moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. His early movies, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome, are experimental art movies with surrealist elements, which have been re-released together to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed (Cabal), which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions. Barker was an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters, which received major critical acclaim. He had been working on a series of movie adaptations of his The Abarat Quintet books under Disney's management, but has admitted that because of creative differences, this project will not go ahead. He is developing a film based on his Tortured Souls line of toys from McFarlane Toys.
A short story titled "The Forbidden", from Barker's Books of Blood, provided the basis for the film Candyman and its two sequels.
Barker is a prolific visual artist working in a variety of media, often illustrating his own books. His paintings have been seen first on the covers of his official fan club magazine, Dread, published by Fantaco in the early Nineties, as well on the covers of the collections of his plays, Incarnations (1995) and Forms of Heaven (1996), as well as on the second printing of the original UK publications of his Books of Blood series. His artwork is currently exhibited at Bert Green Fine Art in Los Angeles, CA, and in the past has been shown at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York and La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles. Many of his sketches and paintings can be found in the collection Clive Barker, Illustrator, published in 1990 by Arcane/Eclipse Books, and in Visions of Heaven and Hell, published in 2005 by Rizzoli Books. The most complete selection of Clive Barker's paintings and drawings are available to view in a gallery setting on the website Clive Barker Imaginer. Clive's official site has an extensive online gallery of his artwork including exclusive sketches, the Imagining Man project and unpublished work-in-progress. He worked on the creative side of a horror computer game, Clive Barker's Undying, providing the voice for the character Ambrose. Undying was developed by DreamWorks Interactive and released in 2001. Barker provided the artwork for his young adult novel The Thief of Always (1992) as well as the Abarat series. Barker announced in July 2006 that he has returned to the video game industry, working on Clive Barker's Jericho for Codemasters which was released in late 2007. Barker created for Diguise Costumes, The Dark Bazaar an sortiment of Halloween costumes.
A longtime comics fan, Barker achieved his dream of publishing his own superhero books when Marvel Comics launched the Razorline imprint in 1993. Based on detailed premises, titles and lead characters he created specifically for this, the four interrelated titles — set outside the Marvel universe — were Ectokid (written first by James Robinson, then by future Matrix co-creator Larry Wachowski, with art by Steve Skroce), Hokum & Hex (written by Frank Lovece, art by Anthony Williams), Hyperkind (written by Fred Burke, art by Paris Cullins and Bob Petrecca) and Saint Sinner (written by Elaine Lee, art by Max Douglas). A 2002 Barker telefilm titled Saint Sinner bore no relation to the comic.
Barker horror adaptations and spin-offs in comics include the Marvel/Epic series Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Pinhead, The Harrowers, Book of the Damned and Jihad; Eclipse Books' series and graphic novels Tapping The Vein, Dread, Son of Celluloid, Revelations The Life of Death, Rawhead Rex and The Yattering and Jack, and Dark Horse Comics' Primal, among others. Barker served as a consultant and wrote issues of the Hellraiser anthology comic book.
In 2005, IDW published a three-issue adaptation of Barker's children's fantasy novel The Thief of Always, written and painted by Kris Oprisko and Gabriel Hernandez. IDW is publishing a 12 issue adaptation of Barker's novel [The Great and Secret Show].
In December 2007, Chris Ryall and Clive Barker announced an upcoming collaboration of an original comic book series, Torakator, to be published by IDW.
In October 2009, IDW published Seduth (Written by Clive Barker and Chris Monfette; art by Gabriel Rodriguez; colors by Jay Fotos; letters by Neil Uyetake; edits by Chris Ryall; and 3-D conversion by Ray Zone), the first time Barker has created a world specifically for the comic book medium in two decades. The work was released with three variant covers; cover a featuring art by Gabriel Rodriguez and cover b with art by Clive Barker and the third is a "retailer incentive signed edition cover" with art by Clive Barker. 
Barker has been openly gay since the early 1990s, first mentioning his dating life to US audiences in the pages of The Advocate magazine. He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, with his partner, photographer David Armstrong, and Armstrong's daughter from a previous relationship, Nicole. His household also includes a great many pets (dogs, fish, even a bird named Malingo).
Clive Barker (born 1952-10-05) is an English writer of fantasy and horror fiction, as well as a filmmaker. His novels include The Great and Secret Show, Weaveworld, and Imajica. His films include Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and Lord of Illusions.