Ness was born in the U.S. near Fort Belvoir army base, near Alexandria, Virginia, where his father was a
lieutenant the US Army. They moved to Hawaii, where he lived until he was
six, then spent the next ten years in Washington state, before moving to Los Angeles. Ness studied English Literature at the University of Southern
graduating, he worked as corporate writer for a cable company. He published his
first story in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on his first
novel when he moved to London in 1999.
naturalised a British citizen in 2005. He entered into a civil partnership with
his partner in 2006, less than two months after the Civil Partnership Act came into force. In August
2013, Ness and his partner got married following the legalization of same-sex
marriage in California.
taught creative writing at Oxford University and has written and reviewed for The Daily Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian. He reviews for The Guardian as of July 2012[update]. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and was the first Writer in
Residence for Booktrust.
Walker Books has published all four children's novels by Ness
to date, one annually from 2008 to 2011. According to news coverage, "He
turned to children's fiction after he had the idea for a world where it is
impossible to escape information overload, and knew it was right for
was The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction
once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers. The
Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men were sequels to The Knife;
jointly they are called the "Chaos Walking trilogy" and The Knife has been reissued with a front cover
banner "Chaos Walking: Book One". Ness has also published three short
stories in the Chaos Walking universe, the prequels "The New
World" and "The Wide, Wide Sea", and "Snowscape", set
after the events of Monsters of Men. A Monster Calls (2011)
originated with Siobhan Dowd, another writer with the same editor at Walker,
Denise Johnstone-Burt. Before her August 2007 death, Dowd and Johnstone-Burt
had discussed the story and contracted for Dowd to write it. Afterward, Walker
arranged separately with Ness to write and Jim Kay to illustrate, and those two
completed the book without meeting. Ness won the Carnegie and Kay won the
companion CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (established 1955), the first
time one book has won both medals.
On 7 May
2013, he was revealed to be the author of Tip of the Tongue, the May
e-short featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa as part Puffin's eleven Doctor Who e-shorts in honor of the show's 50th anniversary.
book, More Than This was released on 5 September 2013. More Than This has since been nominated for the Carnegie Medal of 2015.
Ness held the keynote speech at the Children´s and Young Adult Program of the International
literature festival berlin.
announced that he was working on a new book called The Rest Of Us Just Live
Here set for a 2015 release. On January 20, 2015, Ness announced the official release date of the
book via his Twitter account: it will be released August 25 in the UK, Ireland,
Australia, and New Zealand; and October 5 in Canda and the USA.
October 1, 2015, the BBC announced that Ness would be writing a Doctor Who