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How Did Clive Barker Support Himself Before He Succeeded as an Author?

Clive Barker is one of the most esteemed contemporary literary authors. Specializing in fantasy and horror, most of his works combine the two elements. Many of his famous works have their film adaptations, making Barker contribute to filmmaking and screenwriting. 

In a Grantland article, Clive Barker reveals that he worked previously as a male prostitute to support his career as a budding writer before publishing his most acclaimed literary works. 

The Acclaimed Clive Barker

Known for pursuing many art forms such as writing, filmmaking, video game designing, and screenwriting, Clive Barker is an esteemed contemporary English writer. He’s established his legacy through showing his talent and garnered skills in different mediums. 

Born in Liverpool, England, on October 5, 1952, Clive Barker emerged as artist Joan Ruby and personnel director Leonard Barker’s son. Prior to pursuing English and Philosophy at the University of Liverpool, he finished his early education years in Dovedale Primary School.

Even at the beginning of his literary career, Clive Barker frequented horror and fantasy genres. He initially started writing many short stories centering on those genres; an esteemed example of one of his short story collections is the Books of Blood. Barker continues to publish horror story volumes that combine elements of fantasy with horror.

Many of Clive Barker’s literary works had film adaptations such as Rawhead Rex, The Forbidden, and The Midnight Meat Train, which come from his Books of Blood series. The Dark Forces supernatural horror anthology inspired Barker to start creating horror stories as he discovered that horror genres have different tones, characterization, and themes within the selection.

Apart from The Dark Forces, Clive Barker’s also majorly influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, Jean Cocteau, William S. Borough, and William Blake. A distinct factor in many of Barker’s works is the incorporation of supernatural and fantasy in the real world. The Book of Abarat, The Damnation Game, Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show are only a few of his many renowned horror and fantasy works. (Source: Famous Authors

Recognized for his directing contribution in many of the film adaptations of the Book of Blood, Candyman and Hellraiser continue to be two of his esteemed successes. He’s received many awards that emphasize his excellence, like the Davidson or Valentini Award and the Lambda Literary Award. (Source: Good Reads

His Struggles and Losses 

Although recognized as one of the greatest contemporary English writers, Clive Barker’s not a stranger from experiencing low points in his early life. In a question and answer article written by Sean T. Collins for Grantland, Barker reveals the troubling times he’s faced.

As he continued to work on The Scarlet Gospels, Barker faced many tragedies. The tragic loss of his mother, father, and a young war veteran he considered his son continues to fill him with grief as Barker suffers from many health problems. At one point, Barker falls into a coma.


Not only that, but Barker reveals that he worked as a prostitute to support his early career in writing. In the Grantland article, he expresses that most of his time as a sex worker was humiliating, making it a painful period in his life. (Source: Grantland)

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