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The 9 Best Neil Gaiman Quotes

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From Norse mythology to graphic novels, children’s books to adult fiction, Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller. Really, he is. He’s the one teaching the Masterclass on Storytelling! Understandably, Gaiman is passionate about art and writing, but he also is intentional in encouraging others. We’ve assembled nine of the best Neil Gaiman quotes —verified! But first:

Writing, Lies, and More

best neil gaiman quotes, photograph of Gaiman
Gaiman: British author and storyteller

Neil Gaiman began his writing career by lying. Asked by editors what magazines he had written for, Gaiman did something that could only succeed in the pre-internet age. He listed, as past sources, a number of reputable magazines. When his journalism career began flourishing, Gaiman made it a “point of honor” to write for each of these alleged sources. And so, he points out, his statements ended up being true, just “chronologically challenged.”

Reading Gaiman, it’s easy to see how he fooled editors. This British author is famous in the comic world for his Sandman comics. In children’s literature circles, he is remembered as the first author to win both the Newbery Medal in the US and the Carnegie Medal in Britain for his 2008 novel, The Graveyard Book. Fantasy and satire fans will point to Good Omens, famously co-written with Terry Pratchett. And because he’s multi-talented, Gaiman also works with film and television adapting his works to the screen.   

So now, without further ado, here are some of the best Neil Gaiman quotes.

Quotes about Stories

Gaiman understands the power of stories. He observes:

1. “Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.” ―Journal: Politics, Portugal and No Gumbo-Limbo Trees

Gaiman has seen plenty of success, and he glibly observes.

2. “When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.” —Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions

Neil Gaiman on Books, Reading, and Libraries

Gaiman loves books and encourages reading. He once wrote to a reader,

3. “. . . don’t ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read…” —Journal, The August the 28th Post

Speaking of libraries, Gaiman is known to have quipped,

4. “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

He also is one of those unique writers who has not forgotten what it was like to be a child. He is famously quoted for his paraphrasing of G. K. Chesterton, an author who Gaiman enjoyed in his youth.

5. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Gaiman is a great advocate for children being encouraged to read. As he wrote in The Guardian.

6. “The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.” 

Best Neil Gaiman Quotes on Writing

Despite his success, Gaiman has not forgotten the joy and anguish of being a writer. He has excellent writing advice: words of encouragement for writers in general and freelancers in particular. In his “Make Good Art” commencement address, Gaiman famously said: 

7. “A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.” 

He also observes, wittily:

8. “Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” ―Journal: On Writing

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    Over the years, Gaiman has posted New Year’s wishes for his readers. We shall conclude with this one:

    9. “I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”

    Did you enjoy these quotes? Would you agree they’re some of the best Neil Gaiman quotes? Don’t miss our further resources about Gaiman below. He’s also a master communicator online, and his blog has been going for 20 years, this year! If you’d like to keep reading quotes about writing, take a look at our Ten Best Hemingway Quotes

    Further Neil Gaiman Resources:

    “Make Good Art” Commencent Address —Delivered in 2012 at Philadelphia University of the Arts

    Neil Gaiman’s Journal —Gaiman’s official blog and the originator of several of the above quotes is a pleasure to dive into and nose around.

    New Year’s Wishes: A Collection —From the Journal

    Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming —Gaiman lectures in The Guardian.

    Neil Gaiman’s 5 Must-see Tips on Perfecting Your Writing —From Grammarly and especially of interest to our readers!

    Hayley Schoeppler

    A lover of books, coffee, and most of all the gospel, Hayley comes from the Midwest. When she's not reading, she's often hunting for a pen or scrap of paper to write down a new idea.