New Graduates urged to change world with dreams and imagination

Tuesday 21 June 2016


Celebrated novelist, graphic novelist and screenwriter Neil Gaiman urged the University of St Andrews’ new graduates to change the world through the power of daydreams and imagination.

Mr Gaiman was addressing graduates after receiving an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt).

He said: “Things change because people imagine and the act of imagining whatever it is you are imagining is where world’s changing begins.

“As you go out into the world I want you to remember to daydream and get bored because these days plugged into the world it is so much harder to be bored. You can always pull out your phone and be interesting.

“So get bored, daydream, imagine, follow weird chains of thought into odd places because it is following those strange thoughts into odd places that takes us to where we are now.

“And that will in the end change the world and keep changing it.”

Listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, Mr Gaiman is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. He has won over 30 literary awards and has sold more than 10 million copies of his books worldwide.

His work includes The Sandman comic series, American Gods and Coraline. He has written two episodes of Dr Who, one of which won the Hugo Award.

Notes to news editors

Biography: Author of books for all ages, Neil Gaiman has won over 30 literary awards and has sold more than 10 million copies of his books worldwide. He is listed as one of the Top Ten Living Post-Modern Writers by the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Some of his most notable titles include the novels The Graveyard Book (the first book to ever win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals), American Gods (which will be released as a television show in the US) and the UK’s National Book Award 2013 Book of the Year, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He is the creator of the hugely popular Sandman comic series, and has written two episodes for the television series Doctor Who, one of which won the Hugo Award.

More recently published were his New York Times bestselling short story collection, Trigger Warning, and the enchantingly reimagined fairy tale, The Sleeper and the Spindle (with illustrations by UK Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell). Neil is a dedicated advocate for libraries and literacy efforts around the world (his 2013 lecture for The Reading Agency on the topics has been widely published and viewed by more than 30,000 people). Equally committed to preserving free speech, Gaiman recently served as a Table Host at the PEN American Gala honouring the Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo. Born in Hampshire, UK, he now lives in the US with his wife, the musician and writer, Amanda Palmer, and their son Anthony.

This week Chris Riddell won the CILIP Kate Greenaway medal for his illustrations of Neil Gaiman’s retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, The Sleeper and the Spindle (published by Bloomsbury).

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310 or 462530 or via [email protected].

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