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Biography of Leigh Bardugo | Life and Career

Biography of Leigh Bardugo | Life and Career

Biography of Leigh Bardugo

Biography of Leigh Bardugo: Leigh Bardugo is a bestselling American author of fantasy novels. She was born on January 6, 1975, in Jerusalem, Israel, and grew up in Los Angeles, California. She attended Yale University, where she earned a degree in English literature. After college, Bardugo worked as a makeup artist and a screenwriter before turning to writing fiction.

Bardugo’s debut novel, Shadow and Bone, was published in 2012 and became the first book in the Grishaverse series. The series follows the story of a young soldier named Alina Starkov who discovers she has the power to control light and shadow. The Grishaverse series was a huge success and has since been adapted into a television show on Netflix. In addition to the Grishaverse series, Bardugo has also written several other novels, including Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, and King of Scars. She has also written a number of short stories and novellas set in the Grishaverse.

Bardugo is known for her richly imagined fantasy worlds and complex, multi-layered characters. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She continues to be a popular and highly respected author in the fantasy genre.

Biography of Leigh Bardugo | Life and Career
Biography of Leigh Bardugo | Life and Career

Early Life

Leigh Bardugo was born on 6 April 1975 in Jerusalem, Israel. She was raised by her grandparents as she grew up in LA, California, U.S. Bardugo is secular Jewish and of Moroccan Jewish descent on her father’s side and of Ashkenazi Jewish descent on her mother’s side. In 1997, she graduated with a degree in English from Yale University. She was a member of the Wolf’s Head secret society. Bardugo worked in journalism, copywriting, as well as makeup, and special effects before publishing her first novel.

She reveals she suffers from osteonecrosis and sometimes needs to use a cane, in the acknowledgment section of Six of Crows. This aspect is also an inspiration for one of the story’s six protagonists. Gang boss and master thief Kaz Brekker uses a cane. Leigh Bardugo was a singer in Captain Automatic band from 2006 to 2007. In January 2022 she eloped with her partner of 4 years.

Leigh Bardugo – Career

The first book in the Grisha trilogy and Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel Shadow and Bone was published by Macmillan in 2012. It was nominated for the South Carolina Children’s Book Award and Romantic Times Book Award, and reviewed in The New York Times. The novel had been optioned for film adaptation by DreamWorks and David Heyman. In 2013 and 2014 Macmillan published other books in the trilogy Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. She defines the genre of this trilogy as Tsarpunk – a fantasy inspired by early 19th century Russia.

The Six of Crows duology which includes Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom was published in 2015 and 2016 by Macmillan. It is set in the same universe as that of the Grisha trilogy, which is often collectively known as Grishaverse. In 2017, Macmillan published a collection of Grisha folk tales and fairy tales, The Language of Thorns.

Bardugo then wrote her first DC Icon series. In 2017 Penguin Random House published Wonder Woman: Warbringer. Flatiron Books published her first adult novel Ninth House in 2019. The book won the 2019 best fantasy novel Goodreads Choice Award. She also has essays and short stories in anthology collections such as Last Night, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, Summer Days and Summer Nights, and A Superhero Saved My Life. Bardugo’s books have been translated into 22 languages and published in more than 50 countries.  

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Biography of Leigh Bardugo | Life and Career
Biography of Leigh Bardugo | Life and Career

Alina Starkov grew up with Malyen Oretsev at an orphanage in Keramzin, Kingdom of Ravka. The story prefaces as they march through Unsea aka Shadow Fold. It is a perpetually barren dark land cutting most of Ravka off from the sea. The expeditions sent across Unsea for the transportation of goods are often plagued by monsters called volcra that inhabit the Unsea. During their crossing, Alina displays an extraordinary Grisha talent while saving Malyen from volcra. Alina has the power to summon light so she is considered a Sun Summoner. Some people believe her purpose is to ruin the shadow fold.

The Darkling, leader of Grisha, rushes Alina to Os Alta saying her power is valuable which makes her an assassination target by enemies of Ravka. Alina is struggling to fit in so in order to gain confidence she begins rigorous training. She feels a sense of attraction toward the Darkling and he reciprocates. After demonstrating her abilities to the King, her tutor Baghra told her she must flee. Baghra reveals herself as the mother of the Darkling. She explains that the Darkling wants to enslave Alina and utilize her unique power to conquer the world. Now, as Alina knows what the Darkling wants, with the help of Malyen, Alina will devastate the plans of the Darklings and escape with Mal.


In September 2012, with David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford producing, DreamWorks acquired the movie rights to Shadow and Bone. This project was, however, not released. Netflix in January 2019, ordered an eight-episode series based on the book series Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. Leigh Bardugo made a cameo in episode three of Shadow and Bone. In October 2019, Amazon Studios announced the adaptation of Ninth House. Bardugo is set to be the executive producer alongside Pouya Shahbazian.

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