The Early Years
Alexander Gordon Smith was born on the 27th February, 1979, in the now demolished Norwich and Norfolk Hospital (the demolition had nothing to do with him, although he was a big baby). He moved houses several times while he was a kid, although never straying more than twenty miles from where he was born. As an adult, he still hasn't gone far, and now lives a ten minute walk from where he was born. Although comfortable living in Norwich, he fears this fact may not help his dreams of being known as the Ernest Hemmingway of children's fiction.
In a cliche beloved of all authors, Gordon has always wanted to be a writer. He wrote stories all the time when he was young, dreaming up characters as complex and emotionally engaging as Super Carrot. He also created a book suspiciously like Flanimals when he was six (which he will scan in eventually and add to this site), although he isn't pointing any fingers (unless Ricky Gervais has been crawling around under his bed where all his old stories and pictures are kept, which he probably hasn't).
After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years (McDonalds and Spoils Kitchen Reject Shops), Gordon decided to go to university. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia which, as you may have guessed, is in Norwich. The course nurtured his love of reading, of stories and of books, and he emerged three years later with a mortar board hat, a First Class Honours Degree and a head like Phil Mitchell's. Boo Yah.
The Egg Box Years
More importantly, however, it was at the UEA that Gordon explored his love of publishing. Along with Luke Wright, a poet who was in the midst of setting up now-legendary performance group Aisle16, he founded the Egg Box Magazine, a groundbreaking new magazine for fiction and poetry. Funded by his student loan, the magazine was a huge success, and profits from the first three issues helped pay for the newly created Egg Box Publishing's first poetry collection, The Zoo Keeper by Richard Evans. The following year Egg Box published Come What You Wished For by Ramona Herdman. Both of these first collections were Highly Commended by the Forward Prize and firmly secured the company's reputation for publishing bold and talented newcomers.
Several years later Egg Box had published titles including Live From the Hellfire Club by Aisle16, Mixer by Andre Mangeot and Ahem by Martin Figura. By this time Gordon was broke after funding so many collections (he was trying to be a gentleman publisher without the gentleman's bankroll), and stepped aside to let long-time friend, poet and publisher Nathan Hamilton into the captain's chair. Since then Egg Box has gone from strength to strength, publishing work by authors as diverse as Arthur C. Clark, Rose Tremain and George Szirtes. Most recently it has published the genre-busting verse novel Donjong Heights by Ben Borek.
The Now Years
Parallel to running Egg Box, Gordon also set up an editorial company called Box of Words. Under this banner, usually while pretending to clients to be a huge company stuffed full of writers (when there was just him frantically trying to meet deadlines), Gordon wrote literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. It was a tough few years of silly hours and constant writer's cramp, but he loved it. Most importantly, the endless research led to countless book ideas germinating in his head.
It was a dream, however, which led to his big break. In the summer of 2005 he woke one morning with the striking image of two young inventors running away from an evil genius. He started writing the story that very morning, with the help of his nine-year-old brother Jamie, and some weeks later they had finished their first novel, called The Inventors. The manuscript came second in the Wow Factor competition, run by Faber and Waterstones, and Faber published it in April 2007.
Gordon is extremely passionate about writing, and has written two bestselling creative writing handbooks for Infinite Ideas, Inspired Creative Writing and Writing Bestselling Books for Children as well as organised countless workshops and courses for writers. He is just as passionate about publishing, and alongside his work with Egg Box also sat as Chairman for Inpress, an Arts Council-funded collection of independent publishers, for two years.
(Like I said, completely out of date!!)