Piers Anthony

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Piers Anthony
Born Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob
(1934-08-06) 6 August 1934 (age 84)
Oxford, England, UK
Pen name Piers Anthony
Occupation Novelist, short story writer
Nationality English American
Education Goddard College
Admiral Farragut Academy
Period 1967–present
Genre Science fiction, Fantasy
Spouse Carol Marble
Children Penelope Carolyn Jacob
Cheryl Jacob

Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob (born 6 August 1934 in Oxford, England)[1] is an English American author in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony. He is most famous for his long-running novel series set in the fictional realm of Xanth.

Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list. He has stated that one of his greatest achievements has been to publish a book for every letter of the alphabet, from Anthonology to Zombie Lover.

Early life

Anthony's family emigrated to the United States from Britain when he was six. He graduated from Goddard College in Vermont in 1956.[2] On This American Life on July 27, 2012, Anthony revealed that his parents had divorced, he was bullied, and he had poor grades in school. Anthony referred to his high school as "a very fancy private school", and refuses to donate money to the school, because as a student, he recalls being part of "the lower crust", and that no one paid attention to or cared about him. He said, "I didn't like being a member of the under class, of the peons like that".[3] He became a naturalized U.S. citizen while serving in the United States Army in 1958.[4] After completing a two-year stint in military service, he briefly taught school at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida before becoming a full-time writer.[5]

Marriage and early career

Anthony met his future wife, Carol Marble, while both were attending college. They were married in 1956, the same year he graduated from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont. After a series of odd jobs, Anthony decided to join the U.S. Army in 1957 for a steady source of income and medical coverage for his pregnant wife. He would stay in the Army until 1959; he became a U.S. citizen during this time. While in the army, he became an editor and cartoonist for the battalion newspaper. After leaving the army, he spent a brief stint as a public school teacher before trying his hand at becoming a full-time writer.

Anthony and his wife made a deal: if he could sell a piece of writing within one year, she would continue to work to support him. But if he could not sell anything in that year, then he would forever give up his dream of being a writer. At the end of the year, he managed to get a short story published. He credits his wife as the person who made his writing career possible, and he advises aspiring writers that they need to have a source of income other than their writing in order to get through the early years of a writing career.[6]


On multiple occasions Anthony has moved from one publisher to another (taking a profitable hit series with him), when he says he felt the editors were unduly tampering with his work. He has sued publishers for accounting malfeasance and won judgments in his favor.[citation needed] Anthony maintains an Internet Publishers Survey in the interest of helping aspiring writers.[7] For this service, he won the 2003 "Friend of EPIC" award for service to the electronic publishing community.[citation needed] His website won the Special Recognition for Service to Writers award from Preditors and Editors, an author's guide to publishers and writing services.[8]

Anthony was at one time an angel investor in Xlibris.[9] Many of his popular novel series have been optioned for movies.[10] His popular series Xanth inspired a video game, Companions of Xanth, by Legend Entertainment for DOS. The series also spawned a board game called Xanth by Mayfair Games.

Anthony's novels usually end with a chapter-long Author's Note, in which he talks about himself, his life, and his experiences as they related to the process of writing the novel. He often discusses correspondence with readers and any real-world issues that influenced the novel.

Since about 2000, Anthony has written his novels in a Linux environment.[11]

Anthony's Xanth series was ranked No. 99 in a 2011 NPR readers' poll of best science fiction and fantasy books.[12]

In other media

Act One of episode 470 of the radio program This American Life is an account of boyhood obsessions with Piers Anthony. The act is written and narrated by writer Logan Hill who, as a 12-year-old, was consumed with reading Anthony’s novels. For a decade he felt he must have been Anthony's number one fan, until, when he was 22, he met "Andy" at a wedding and discovered their mutual interest in the writer. Andy is interviewed for the story and explains that, as a teenager, he had used escapist novels in order to cope with his alienating school and home life in Buffalo, New York. In 1987, at age 15, he decided to run away to Florida in order to try to live with Piers Anthony. The story includes Piers Anthony’s reflections on these events.[3]

Personal life

Anthony currently lives with his wife on a tree farm which he owns in Florida. He and his wife had two daughters, Penny and Cheryl, and one grandchild, Logan. Regarding his religious beliefs, Anthony wrote in the October 2004 entry of his personal website, "I'm agnostic, which means I regard the case as unproven, but I'm much closer to the atheist position than to the theist one."[13]

On 3 September 2009, their daughter Penelope "Penny" Carolyn Jacob died from apparent respiratory paralysis following surgery for melanoma which had metastasized to her brain. She is survived by her husband and her daughter, Logan.[14]


For autobiography refer to autobiographical subsection.

See also


  1. Anthony, Piers. Bio of an Ogre, Ace Books, 1988. p 5
  2. Anthony, Piers. Bio of an Ogre, Ace Books, 1988. p. 87
  3. 3.0 3.1 "470: Show Me The Way". This American Life. Transcript. July 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  4. Denney, Jim (2003). Quit Your Day Job!: How to Sleep Late, Do What You Enjoy, and Make a Ton of Money as a Writer!. Quill Driver Books. p. 24. ISBN 1-884956-04-1. 
  5. Anthony, Piers. Bio of an Ogre, Ace Books, 1988. p. 284
  6. Anthony, Piers (1985). "Introduction to the story "Possible to Rue"". Anthonology (Hardcover) (1st ed.). New York, NY: Tom Doherty Associates. p. 10. ISBN 0-312-93027-5. 
  7. Internet Publishers Survey at hipiers.com
  8. Gogolewski, Kathe. "An Interview With Piers Anthony for the 2006 Muse Online Writers Conference." Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  9. Anthony, Piers (October 2000). "OctOgre 2000". Ogre's Den. Piers Anthony. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  10. http://www.austinchronicle.com/screens/2004-12-10/241547/
  11. Howell, Dean. (10.11.2011) "Piers Anthony: An Ogre and a Penguin – candid interview with Piers Anthony" The Power Base: The Internet's Finest Source for Open Source. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  12. "Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books". NPR. August 11, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  13. Anthony, Piers (October 2004). "Ogre's Den: From the Desk of Piers Anthony, OctOgre 2004". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  14. Anthony, Piers (October 2009). "OctOgre 2009". Ogre's Den. Piers Anthony. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 

External links