Brandon Sanderson is an American fantasy and science fiction author. Sanderson is best known for his Mistborn series and his work in finishing Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. He is the only author to make the shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend Award eight times in seven years. Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings.
He has also won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Epic Fantasy twice and has been nominated for three other years. Brandon’s books have been published in thirty-five languages.
Brandon Sanderson was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He had been into fantasy since he was 14 when a copy of Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane turned a reluctant reader into a lifelong fan.
At the same time, Brandon discovered such authors as Robert Jordan, Melanie Rawn, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card.
He studied biochemistry at Brigham Young University, but after a two-year stint as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Seoul, he switched to English studies upon his return and began volunteering for SFF's university magazine, Leading Edge.
Brandon often says that it was during his time in Seoul, Korea, that he realized he didn't miss chemistry one bit, but he missed writing.
Sanderson wrote thirteen unpublished books in ten years while he worked as a night clerk in a hotel--a job specifically chosen because, as long as he was awake, his bosses didn't mind if he wrote from midnight to five in the morning. But his publishers kept telling him that his epic fantasies were too long, that he should try to be more somber or "more like George RR Martin."
“No one wanted to read what I wanted to write. But when I tried to write what they wanted to read, I got even worse. I was like, what am I doing?” he says later.
Brandon learned much about the business side of being a writer by taking a class from David Farland, author of the popular Runelords series. One piece of advice Dave gave Brandon was to attend conventions, such as WorldCon and World Fantasy, to connect with industry professionals. He began to do so and eventually met both his current agent and one of his editors at conventions.
His first book, Elantris, was published by Tor Books in 2005, with generally positive reviews. This was followed in 2006 by Mistborn: The Final Empire, the first book in his Mistborn fantasy trilogy, in which "allomancers"—people with the ability to 'burn' metals and alloys after ingesting them—gain enhanced senses and control over powerful supernatural forces.
“I’d always wanted The Way of Kings to be my calling card to the fantasy genre. Fantasy is wonderful to me in that it can take you to a fantastical new place, show you lots of amazing things, but also can talk about what’s going on in our lives right now,” says the novelist.
Brandon’s repertoire expanded into the children’s market when Scholastic published Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, a middle-grade novel, in October 2007. Three more volumes of the series have been released so far. Additionally, Brandon’s novella Infinity Blade: Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series.
Sanderson rose to prominence in late 2007 when Harriet McDougal, the wife, and editor of author Robert Jordan, chose Sanderson to complete the final books in Jordan's epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time after Jordan's death. McDougal asked Sanderson to finish the series after being deeply impressed by his first Mistborn novel, The Final Empire.
2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight were followed by the final volume in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013. The first of the series, Gathering Storm, reached the number-one spot on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover fiction.
His novella The Emperor's Soul won a Hugo Award in 2013. Since 2016, Brandon has been a judge for Writers of the Future. He has made the New York Times bestseller list fifteen times, most recently at #1 with his novel Oathbringer, the third book of the Stormlight Archive, which is also Audible's most pre-ordered book of all time.
DMG Entertainment has acquired the rights to the Cosmere universe, which his fantasy novels share, and Fox has acquired the Reckoners trilogy for Shawn Levy’s production company 21 Laps.
Since 2008, Sanderson also participates in the weekly podcast Writing Excuses with authors Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, and web cartoonist Howard Tayler. He began hosting the podcast Intentionally Blank with a friend and fellow Dan Wells in June 2021, where they discuss random things they enjoy.
Sanderson also collaborated with Unknown Worlds Entertainment to create the lore and setting for the video game Moonbreaker, which was released via early access in September 2022.
Brandon Sanderson is a member of the Mormon church.
Sanderson married Emily Bushman. They have three sons and currently live in Utah.
Photo credit: brandonsanderson.com