Katherine Neville’s 20-year data processing career, in the fields of energy and transportation, took her to live and work in seven countries on three continents, and half the states of the USA. Among her employers and clients were IBM, the Long Island Railroad, the Department of Energy, the Algerian Ministry of Industry and Energy, and the Bank of America. Between jobs, she supported herself as a commercial photographer, fashion moodel, professional portrait painter, waiter, and busboy. When her first book, The Eight, was published (1988) she left the computer world and became a full-time author.
Neville has been dubbed “the female” Umberto Eco, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, and Stephen Spielberg. The Washington Post called The Eight “a feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark” and Publishers Weekly recently credited her work as having “paved the way for books like The DaVinci Code.” Her colorful Adventure-Quest novels have been translated into 40 languages, and have remained on bestseller lists around the world, including USA Today, The NY Times, The Indie List, Le Figaro, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, and The Denver Post.
As a longtime library supporter, Katherine was the first author ever invited onto the board of the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC, where she has served for a decade. She is co-creator and sponsor of two international library awards, and co-producer of a series of short film clips of famous authors, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian Libraries.
Katherine Neville currently resides in Washington, DC and Virginia where she has restored the fabled 1960s house and studio of an award-winning Japanese potter, and where she is completing her new novel about artists in the 1600s.
Katherine Neville was born in the midwest and went to school in Colorado. From childhood, she loved to read stories of action and adventure, and she listened to campfire tales like those of African Americans, Native Americans, and the old time ‘mountain men’ in the Rockies. She wanted to be a storyteller, and wrote her first long story by the age of nine–though it would take her another three decades to complete and publish her first novel.
After college, Neville got a job in New York, in the new and fast-growing computer field, developing systems for the energy and transportation industries. Over the next twenty years, her career in data processing would take her to live and work in seven countries on three continents, and half of the states of the USA. Meanwhile: “Every time I found myself between jobs,” she says, “I’d sign up with a local modeling agency, or paint portraits of people’s children or dogs, or work as a waiter or busboy. Stranded in Denver, I set up my own commercial photography business, and with the advice of all the photographers I knew, shot high-end fashion and ski catalogues, department store ads, ballet programs, and an early State calendar. “
In the late 1970s, thanks to her previous work in the energy field in New York and Algiers, Neville was called from her photography business to the Department of Energy’s nuclear research site in the high desert of Idaho, where she helped design systems to identify, track, and manage toxic, hazardous and transuranic waste materials. This experience would later provide the core of her book The Magic Circle (1998), a novel about Uranus, uranium, the Rockies, the Russians, and ancient predictions about the turning of the aeon, the 2000-year cycle “From the rise of the Roman Empire to the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
In 1980, Neville moved to San Francisco where she worked for the next ten years, becoming vice president of the Bank of America. Having initiated her career on the stock exchanges of New York, and finding herself now, twenty years later, in the world banking arena inspired her international caper, A Calculated Risk (1992), a tale of high-stakes intrigue and skullduggery in the world of international money markets, a book that provides eerie premonitions of what is transpiring in today’s global economy.
In 2008, Neville’s long-awaited sequel to The Eight — The Fire — was published to international critical acclaim. It spent more than six months on bestseller lists around the world, and it has been translated into nearly 20 languages.
Upon the purchase of The Eight and A Calculated Risk in the 1980s by Random House/Ballantine, Neville left the computer world and moved to Europe with her best friend and “significant other,” Dr. Karl Pribram, the world-famous brain scientist renowned for his holographic theory of memory, and for his discovery of the functions of the brain’s limbic systems and frontal lobes. Pribram was the first recipient of the Havel Prize, among many other honors.
After living for some time abroad, in Austria and Germany, Neville and Pribram settled in Virginia and Washington, DC, where Pribram was distinguished professor simultaneously at Georgetown University, Radford University, and George Mason. Dr Pribram died in 2019.
Neville currently lives in Washington DC and Virginia, where she is restoring a fabled Japanese potter’s house and studios from the 1960s. She is writing and doing research for her forthcoming novel about painters in the 1600s and modern times.
Neville has been an invited speaker at many universities and other venues around the world, including the Today show; National Public Radio; the Voice of America; the World Affairs Conference in Colorado; The Georgia Tech Women’s Leadership Conference; the Idaho Writers Rendezvous; the Orkney Science Fair in Scotland; the Ateneo de Madrid; the University of Menendez & Pelayo in Spain; the First International Mevlana (Rumi) Symposium in Konya, Turkey; the Turkish Culture Ministry in Ankara; The James River Writers’ Conference; the Smithsonian Associates lecture series; and The Library of Congress.
Awards and Honors:
Bestseller Lists, including: USA Today, The NY Times bestseller and “Notable Books” lists, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, Indie List, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, St Paul Pioneer Press, Denver Post, Le Figaro, and El Pais
Honors: The Eight, appears on Amazon’s “100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime;” as well as National Public Radio’s Audience Picks “100 Best Killer Thrillers;” Partners & Crime’s “100 of the Best We’ve Ever Read;” Signature-Reads’ “100 Best Thrillers of All Time;” and International Thriller Writers’ “100 Must-Read Thrillers.” The Eight was voted one of the top ten books of all time in a national poll by the noted Spanish journal, El Pais.
Awards: the Silver Nautilus Award, The Romantic Times Best Historic Novel Award, and the Turkish Cultural Ministry’s Medallion of Merit.
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