Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini
Christopher Paolini
Born November 17, 1983 (1983-11-17) (age 27)
Southern California, United States
Occupation Novelist
Genres Young adult fiction, high fantasy
Notable work(s) Inheritance Cycle


Christopher Paolini (born November 17, 1983, in Southern California) is an American author. He is best known as the author of the Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance. He lives in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he wrote his first book.



Christopher Paolini was raised in the area of Paradise Valley, Montana. His family members include his parents, Kenneth Paolini and Talita Hodgkinson, and his sister, Angela Paolini.[1] Home schooled for the duration of his education, Paolini graduated from high school at the age of 15 through a set of accredited correspondence courses from American School of Correspondence in Lansing, Illinois. Following graduation, he started his work on what would become the novel Eragon, the first of a series set in the mythical land of Alagaësia.

In 2002, Eragon was published by Paolini International LLC, Paolini's parents' company. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap."[1] Paolini created the cover art for the first edition of Eragon, which featured Saphira's eye. He also drew the maps on the inside covers of his books.[2]

In summer 2002, the stepson of author Carl Hiaasen found Eragon in a bookstore and loved it, and Hiaasen brought it to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.[3][4] Knopf subsequently made an offer to publish Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance cycle. The second edition of Eragon was published by Knopf in August 2003. At the age of nineteen, Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author.[5] Eragon has since been adapted into a film of the same name.

Paolini's essay "It All Began with Books" was included in the April 2005 anthology Guys Write for Guys Read.

Eldest, the sequel of Eragon, was released August 23, 2005. The third book in the cycle, Brisingr, was released on September 20, 2008.[6] Although the Inheritance Cycle was planned as a trilogy, the details for Brisingr had to be expanded to include a fourth book, Inheritance.[7]

To date, the Inheritance Cycle has sold more than 25 million copies.[8] On March 23, 2011, Random House announced the cover, title, and release date of Inheritance. It was released on November 8, 2011 in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and India.


Paolini's literary inspirations include the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, E. R. Eddison and the author of the epic poem Beowulf.[3] Paolini said that Eragon was "specifically inspired" by the work of Bruce Coville. Other literary influences include David Eddings, Andre Norton, Brian Jacques, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist, Mervyn Peake, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Frank Herbert.[9] Other favorite authors include Jane Yolen,[1] Philip Pullman,[9] and Garth Nix.[3]

Nature influences much of Paolini's writing. In an interview with Philip Pullman and Tamora Pierce, Paolini said that Paradise Valley, Montana is "one of the main sources" of his inspiration.[10]

In the book Eldest, Paolini described his Elves as vegetarians. When asked about his own diet, Paolini answered, "No, I am not vegetarian, although I lean in that direction."[11]

In the acknowledgments of Brisingr, Paolini acknowledged the influence of Leon and Hiroko Kapp's The Craft of the Japanese Sword for his description of the forging of Eragon's sword.[12] Additionally, Paolini admitted he is a Doctor Who fan, which inspired his reference to the "lonely god" (the epithet given to the Doctor by the Face of Boe in the episode "New Earth"), as well as to "rooms that are bigger on the inside than the outside" (from "Questions Unanswered" in Inheritance).[13][14]


Inheritance Cycle

  • Eragon (2002) Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 2006
  • Eldest (2005) Quill Award, Young Adult/Teen category, 2006
  • Brisingr (2008)
  • Inheritance (2011)


  1. ^ a b c The Author. Accessed 2007-10-30.
  2. ^ Paolini, C., Eragon, Paolini International LLC, 2002.
  3. ^ a b c Spring, Kit (January 25, 2004). "Elf and efficiency (Interview)". Guardian Unlimited.,,1130351,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  4. ^ David Welch (September 29, 2005). A Kinder, Gentler Carl Hiaasen, Still Pissing People Off Accessed 2008-01-20.
  5. ^ Liz Rosenberg (November 16, 2003). 'Eragon': The Egg and Him. Accessed 2007-10-30.
  6. ^ Press release (January 16, 2008). Random House. Accessed 2008-01-16.
  7. ^ Press release (October 30, 2007). Random House. Accessed 2007-10-30.
  8. ^ "Inheritance Cycle: Author". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  9. ^ a b Talita Paolini Christopher Paolini Q&A Accessed 2008-01-20.
  10. ^ Dave Welch (October 2003). News: Philip Pullman, Tamora Pierce, and Christopher Paolini Talk Fantasy Fiction Accessed 2008-01-20.
  11. ^ Christopher Paolini. Talking Trilogy Accessed 2008-01-20.
  12. ^ Paolini, Christopher (September 20, 2008). "Acknowledgments". Brisingr (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 761. ISBN 0375826726. 
  13. ^ Paolini, Christopher (September 20, 2008). "Shadows of the Past". Brisingr (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 204. ISBN 0375826726. "Bending over, Eragon read, Adrift upon the sea of time, the lonely god wanders from shore to distant shore, upholding the laws of the stars above." 
  14. ^ Paolini, Christopher (September 20, 2008). "Acknowledgments". Brisingr (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 761. ISBN 0375826726. "Also, for those who understood the reference to a 'lonely god' when Eragon and Arya are sitting around the campfire, my only excuse is that the Doctor can travel everywhere, even alternate realities. Hey, I'm a fan too!" 

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