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16th December 2009

By Maggie Hartford

A GROUND-breaking book by Oxford author Mark Haddon has been named the UK’s third best-selling novel of the decade.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was the top novel by a British writer in a list compiled by the Bookseller Magazine.

The book, about an autistic teenager, has sold 2.06m copies.

It was only beaten on British sales by US author Dan Brown’s novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, which sold 5.2m and 3.17m copies respectively.

In the list of children’s books, dominated by the Harry Potter series, Curious came 10th.

Mr Haddon’s publisher, David Fickling, based in Beaumont Street, Oxford, said: “We can all celebrate when a book of enormous quality achieves spectacular sales. We are so proud to publish Mark Haddon.”

The Curious Incident, which tells the story of a 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome living in Swindon, changed Mr Haddon’s life.

Released in 2003, it won that year’s Whitbread Book of the Year and the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.

The author of a dozen children’s books, he lived in a small terrace house in Bullingdon Road, East Oxford, and worked as a carer of children with special needs when he wrote the novel.

He still lives in the city with his wife, Sos Eltis, who teaches English at Brasenose College, and their two young sons, and says he particularly enjoys shopping on the Cowley Road.

He said: “I’m acutely aware that I’ve been very, very lucky and I’m hugely grateful for this.”

Mr Haddon added: “Since Curious I’ve been able to write a collection of poetry, a TV film and, most recently, a stage play.

“Curious bought me the time and the confidence to take those risks.”

Mr Haddon’s latest book, Boom!, is about two children who set off to discover the meaning of a dark, mysterious language spoken by their teachers.

Source:   http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/headlines/4797448.Oxford_author_is_UK_s_third_best_seller_of_decade/

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