John Boyne Facts 📝

John Boyne is an Irish author who has published numerous novels throughout his career, many of which are read by both young readers and adults. 

John Boyne

Irish Novelist

He’s best known for his ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,’ which was turned into a film in 2008, two years after it was published. His other novels explore diverse themes, like growing up and the importance of history, family, and identity. 

John Boyne’s first book was The Thief of Time

Boyne’s first novel was ‘The Thief of Time,’ published in 2000. It was reissued (and published for the first time in the United States in 2008). The novel follows Matthieu Zela, who, in 1758, is fleeing Paris after witnessing the execution of two family members. He realizes in the coming years that he’s stopped aging and eventually reaches the incredible age of 256 and finds himself living in the 20th century. 

John Boyne studied English literature and creative writing

John Boyne is an Irish author who attended Trinity College Dublin for his Bachelor’s in Arts and the University of East Anglia for his Master’s in Arts. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East Anglia in 2015. 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has sold 11 million copies around the world

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is, without a doubt, John Boyne’s best-known and most commonly read novel. It takes place during World War II and focuses on a nine-year-old protagonist, Bruno. His family moves from Berlin to Poland after his father receives a new job as the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

There, Bruno deals with confusing degrees of separation between himself and the men, women, and children wearing striped pajamas on the other side of a large fence. He eventually becomes friends with one of them, a young Jewish boy named Shmuel, who suffers in ways that Bruno doesn’t understand. 

Boyne’s emotional novel was written for young readers but has also been read by adults around the world. It is an extraordinarily heart-wrenching and memorable account of the Holocaust.

Boyne has spoken out about the difficulties of being gay in predominantly Catholic Ireland

The author is well-known for speaking about his youth in Ireland and how difficult it was for him as a young boy growing up knowing that he was gay. He has also spoken about the abuse he suffered in Terenure College when he was a student there. 

His first story was nominated for a Hennessy Literary Award in 1993

While John Boyne is far better known for his novels for adults and young readers than he is as a short story writer, he has published one complete collection of stories. Additionally, his first published work, prior to any of his novels, was a short story that was nominated for a Hennessy Literary Award in 1993. 

His books have been translated into more than 50 languages

John Boyne’s novels are read around the world. So far, they’ve been translated into more than 50 languages. His have an incredibly wide appeal. Many of them deal with young protagonists, around the age of nine or ten, dealing with tough, historically relevant struggles. ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas‘ is only one example. 

His ‘The Boy at the Top of the Mountain is a sequel of sorts that follows a different young boy from France who ends up living in the mountain home of Adolf Hitler during World War II.

He’s also written books that are even more gauged towards young readers or adults. They include ‘All the Broken Places,’ ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies,’ ‘The Absolutist,’ A Ladder to the Sky,’ and ‘Stay Where You Are & Then Leave.’

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has been adapted into a play, ballet, opera, and more

This well-loved novel is short and was originally written for young readers. But, this has not stopped creative writers and filmmakers from transforming the novel into an opera, film, ballet, and more. The story of ‘The boy in the Striped Pajamas has captured the imagination of directors, producers, writers, and audience members around the world.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was made into a film in 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,’ or ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,’ was made into a film in 2008, directed by Mark Herman. It was based on Boyne’s novel and starred Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, and others. The film stays very true to the novel, allowing Bruno (Asa Butterfield) as he learns about Auschwitz and struggles to understand why he’s on one side of the fence, and his friend is on the other. 


Who is John Boyne? 

John Boyne is an Irish author who was born on April 30th, 1971, in Dublin. He studied English and creative writing before publishing his first novel in 2000. 

What is John Boyne known for? 

John Boyne is known as the author of ground-breaking young adult novels that have entranced a generation of young and adult readers. He’s perhaps best known for ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.’ 

Is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas based on a true story? 

No, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is not based on a true story, but it’s based on the very real events and conditions in Germany, Poland, and especially the Auschwitz extermination camp during World War II. 

What is John Boyne’s best book?

Most readers cite ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as John Boyne’s best book. It’s certainly his best-known, due mostly to its adaption into a 2008 film. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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