Darren O'Shaughnessy (//; born 2 July 1972), who commonly writes under the pen name Darren Shan, is an Irish author. Darren Shan is the main character in O'Shaughnessy's The Saga of Darren Shan young adult fiction series, also known as the Cirque Du Freak series in the United States. He followed that up with The Demonata series and the stand-alone books, Koyasan and The Thin Executioner. Then came The Saga of Larten Crepsley which is a prequel to The Saga of Darren Shan and tells the life of Larten Crepsley. His next multi-book series was Zom-B and in April 2020 he started his new Archibald Lox series. Shan also writes for adults, and has published The City Book Trilogy and Lady of the Shades under the name of Darren Shan, and The Evil and the Pure, Sunburn, An Other Place, Midsummer's Bottom, and Molls Like it Hot under the name of Darren Dash.
Shan (left) with his wife Helen Basini at Killarney, Ireland, in summer, 2005
2 July 1972
London, United Kingdom
|Pen name||Darren Shan, D. B. Shan, Darren Dash|
|Alma mater||Roehampton University|
|Notable works||The Saga of Darren Shan |
The Thin Executioner
Early life and educationEdit
Shan was born in St Thomas's Hospital in London, opposite the Houses of parliament. At the age of three, he started school at English Martyrs' near the Elephant and Castle where he lived. When he was six, he moved with his parents and younger brother, to Limerick in Ireland, where he has lived ever since.
He received his primary education in Askeaton, and attended secondary school at Copsewood College, Pallaskenry, graduating in 1989. He returned to London in 1990 to pursue a degree in Sociology and English from Roehampton University.
Shan bought his first typewriter when he was fourteen and wrote many short stories, comic scripts, and books that he never finished, many of which are unpublished. Shan claims that most of these stories will never be published. His first success came to him at age fifteen, when he was a runner-up in a TV script-writing competition for RTÉ in Ireland, with a dark comedy story entitled A Day in the Morgue.
After university, Shan worked in a TV cable company in Limerick for two years, before becoming a full-time writer at the age of 23. His breakthrough came with Ayuamarca, released under his real name (Darren O'Shaughnessy). It was published in February 1999 by Orion Publishing Group. The sequel, Hell's Horizon, was published in February 2000. Ayuamarca was re-released in March 2008 under the title Procession of the Dead and the pen-name D.B. Shan. Hell's Horizon followed in March 2009, and the third in the trilogy, City of the Snakes in March 2010 (but this time under the name of Darren Shan). In January 2000, Shan released Cirque du Freak, the first book of The Saga of Darren Shan series in the UK and Ireland. The series was a huge global success and by 2019 his books were on sale in 40 countries, in 32 languages, and had sold in excess of twenty-five million copies worldwide.
Shan continues to live in Pallaskenry in Limerick, Ireland with his wife Dr Helen Basini, a freelance university lecturer and global aid specialist. On 23 September 2014, the couple celebrated the birth of their first child, Dante, named after the famous Italian author. Shan and his wife Helen welcomed their second child, a daughter named Gaia, on 26 March 2019.
The Saga of Darren ShanEdit
Also known as Cirque Du Freak series.
- Cirque Du Freak (ISBN 0316605107)
- The Vampire's Assistant (0316905720/0316606847)
- Tunnels of Blood (0316607630)
- Lord Loss
- Demon Thief
- Blood Beast
- Demon Apocalypse
- Death's Shadow
- Wolf Island
- Dark Calling
- Hell's Heroes
The City TrilogyEdit
The City Trilogy was written for adult readers and was originally released under the name of Darren O'Shaughnessy. The third book was never published and the original versions are now out of print. They were published by Orion Publishing Group. However, in March 2008, Ayuamarca was re-published as Procession of the Dead (with substantial changes) by the Voyager imprint of HarperCollins (Shan's children's publisher). Hell's Horizon was released in March 2009 and City of the Snakes was released in March 2010. All three books are now also available in the US, as well as in several other countries.
- Ayuamarca – Renamed Procession of the Dead – First published in the United Kingdom in February 1999 and later in Russia. Re-released in the UK in March 2008.
- Hell's Horizon – Sequel to Ayuamarca. First published in the United Kingdom in February 2000. Re-released in March 2009.
- City of the Snakes – Last book of The City Trilogy. It came out in the United Kingdom in March 2010.
The Saga of Larten CrepsleyEdit
This is a four-book series covering 200 years in the life of Larten Crepsley, a vampire first introduced to readers in Cirque Du Freak.
- Birth of a Killer. Released in the UK and US in October 2010.
- Ocean of Blood. Released in UK and US in April 2011.
- Palace of the Damned. Released in UK and US in September 2011.
- Brothers to the Death. Released in UK and US in April/May 2012.
On 12 October 2011, it was announced that Darren Shan's next series for teenagers would focus on zombies, and that the title of the series was Zom-B. There were twelve books in total. The first book was released in the UK and USA in late September 2012, and the last book was released in April 2016.
- Zom-B, released in the UK on 27 September 2012.
- Zom-B Underground, released in the UK on 3 January 2013.
- Zom-B City, released in the UK on 14 March 2013.
- Zom-B Angels, released in the UK on 20 June 2013.
- Zom-B Baby, released in the UK on 26 September 2013.
- Zom-B Gladiator, released in the UK on 2 January 2014.
- Zom-B Mission, released in the UK on 27 March 2014.
- Zom-B Clans, released in the UK on 3 July 2014.
- Zom-B Family, released in the UK on 25 September 2014.
- Zom-B Bride, released in the UK on 24 February 2015.
- Zom-B Fugitive, released in the UK in August 2015
- Zom-B Goddess, released in the UK in April 2016
A short novel titled Zom-B Circus, set between Zom-B Gladiator and Zom-B Mission, was released on 27 April 2014. This is officially book 6.5 in the series chronology.
On 2 April 2020, Shan announced that he had silently released three books digitally, making up the first volume of the Archibald Lox series, a few days previously. There will be three volumes in total in the series.
- Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds
- Archibald Lox and the Empress of Suanpan
- Archibald Lox and the Vote of Alignment
A short novel released for World Book Day in the UK in 2006. The paperback edition is out of print, but it is available in ebook format through Kindle on Amazon stores worldwide. It has also been translated and released in several other countries.
The Thin ExecutionerEdit
A one-off novel, The Thin Executioner was released in April 2010. Inspired in part by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and based in a brutal, fantastical world, it details the perilous quest of Jebel, the thin son of a respected executioner, to petition a fire god for invincibility, so that he can succeed his father. Shan has stated that this is his favourite out of all of the books he has written.
Lady of the ShadesEdit
Lady of the Shades was released in the UK and Ireland on 30 August 2012.
A short story originally released in a book collection called Kids Night In in the UK in 2003. Shan tweaked and slightly expanded it ten years later, and it was released as a book by the publishing group Barrington Stoke with illustrations by Zack McLaughlin.
In 2014, Shan started publishing his books for adults under the name of Darren Dash, so that they would not be confused with his children's books. The first, in 2014, was The Evil and the Pure, followed by Sunburn in 2015, An Other Place in 2016, Midsummer's Bottom in 2018, and Molls Like it Hot in 2019. Shan plans to write the rest of his adult books under this pen name from this point onwards.
Online short spin-off storiesEdit
- "An Essay on Vampires" "by" Steve Leopard – book 1 tie-in story.
- "Annie's Diary" – book 1 tie-in story.
- "Tiny Terrors" – book 2 tie-in story.
- "Transylvania Trek" – a short story "written" by Sam Grest.
- "Shanta Claus" (only available at Christmas)
- "Lonely Lefty" – book 3 tie-in story.
- "Bride of Sam Grest" – another short story "written" by Sam Grest.
- "An Affair of the Night" – book 5 tie-in story (should be read just before or after book 5).
- "Hagurosan" – Originally written for Kids' Night In.
- "Young Alan Moore" – Originally written for Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, a book written to celebrate the 50th birthday of Alan Moore.
- "The Good Ship Tree" – Originally written for the Times Educational Supplement, and accepted.
- "Life's a Beach" – Originally written for the Times Educational Supplement, but rejected.
- "Guyifesto—Who We Are" – Originally written for Guys Write For Guys Read. (Play on words of "manifesto")
- The Saga of Darren Shan tie-in short stories – See above
In July 2009, Shan revealed that he had written first drafts of 53 books in total. Most of those have now been published, although there are several which have yet to see the light of day, which he plans to release in the future, most probably under his Darren Dash umbrella. There are also a few that will very likely never be published. Shan has not revealed details of any of his unpublished books, with two exceptions — Mute Pursuit and The Cannibal King:
- Mute Pursuit – A futuristic cross between The Terminator and Stephen King's The Dark Tower; this was Shan's first completed book at age seventeen.
- The Cannibal King – This was originally going to be the 12th book of The Saga of Darren Shan – book 11 was originally meant to be much longer, including elements from the first half of what became Sons of Destiny. The Cannibal King was never published because it was originally part of the planned 24-book Saga. Shan had planned to write 18—24 books for The Saga, with half of them taking place in the future wasteworld shown in Book 10, The Lake of Souls. For reasons explained on his web site, Shan decided to end the series with Sons of Destiny, which was written and released instead of The Cannibal King. He never reveals anything that he wrote in this book, because there is a possibility that he might one day write a follow-up series to The Saga, which would take parts of this book as its starting point.
Universal Studios bought the film rights to the first three books of The Saga of Darren Shan and combined them to make a single film, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, released in the US on 23 October 2009. Lauren Shuler Donner produced the film and Paul Weitz directed. The original screenplay was written by Brian Helgeland but rewritten entirely by Paul Weitz.
- Melton, J. Gordon (2010). The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. p. 633. ISBN 978-1-57859-350-7.
- Shan, Darren (17 July 2016). "'I was in my late 20s before I made enough to move out of home...'" (Interview). Interviewed by Louise McBride.
- Miller, Laura (23 October 2013). "Zombie writer gives High Close pupils some tricks of the trade". getreading. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Shan, Darren (6 April 2016). "Darren Shan: saying goodbye to my zombies". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Heller, Jason (20 January 2011). "Darren Shan: Procession of the Dead". AUX. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- "Books For Older Readers". www.darrenshan.com. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
- "About Darren". www.darrenshan.com. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Joshi, S. T. (2010). Encyclopedia of the Vampire: The Living Dead in Myth, Legend, and Popular Culture. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-313-37834-8.
- "Darren Shan". Christopher Little. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
- "About The agency". Christopher Little. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- "Helen Basini Profile". University of Limerick. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Sheridan, Colette (22 October 2014). "Darren Shan: A damned good storyteller". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Darren Shan [@darrenshan] (26 March 2019). "Gaia Shan was safely delivered on the maternity wing of Vampire Mountain early this morning. Mum and daughter both doing fine. Proud Vampire Prince doing even finer!! 👻" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Phelan, Eugene (6 October 2009). "Darren's premiere dream comes true" (PDF). Limerick Chronicle. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Neill, Graeme (12 October 2011). "Shan moves from HC to S&S for Zom-B". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Shan, Darren (2 April 2020). "Introducing Archie..." www.darrenshan.com. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- "Koyasan". Curtis Brown. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- "The Thin Executioner". www.darrenshan.com. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- "The Books". Darren Dash: The Official Website. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- Schwarzbaum, Lisa (23 October 2009). "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant". EW.com. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Zacharek, Stephanie (23 October 2009). ""Cirque du Freak": Not freaky enough". Salon. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Official website
- Interview with Darren Shan on foyles.co.uk
- Darren Shan talks about Cirque du Freak
- Darren Shan lists his favourite books at bookarmy.com
- Darren Shan reads extracts from his books for an hour as part of the One & Other art installation in Trafalgar Square
- Interview with Darren Shan on Veronika Asks
- Darren Shan Interview with Scottish Book Trust
- Darren Shan in 'Writers – Fiction' file at Limerick City Library, Ireland
- Darren Shan on IMDb
- Darren Shan's IMDb profile
- Darren Shan's Goodreads Author page
- Darren Shan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (with O'Shaughnessy and D.B. Shan)
- Darren Shan at Library of Congress Authorities, with 52 catalogue records
- Works by or about Darren Shan in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Darren O'Shaughnessy and D.B. Shan at WorldCat