Clive was born near Penny Lane, Liverpool, in 1952. He entered Liverpool University to study English literature and philosophy. At the age of 21, he moved to London. There, he formed a theater company to perform plays that he had written, and worked in that medium throughout his twenties as a writer, a director and an actor.
Many of these early plays contained the fantastical, erotic and horrific elements that would later become part of his literary work. They include The History of the Devil, Frankenstein in Love, Subtle Bodies, The Secret Life of Cartoons and a play about his favorite painter, Goya, entitled Colossus. These works are now seeing publication in the book Pandemonium.
The imaginative qualities that were such a fundamental part of his theatrical work found their first literary outlet in the short fiction to which he turned in his late twenties. The first published examples of these tales are the The Books of Blood Volumes 1-3. They saw only modest success in the UK, but with the publication of the books in the United States and the appearance of his first novel, ****ation Game, he began to find favor with readers and critics alike.
Three more volumes followed, published in England as The Books of Blood, volumes 4-6, and retitled in America as The Inhuman Condition, In the Flesh and Cabal. By this point, many of his books were finding their way into translation, and now appear in over a dozen languages.
In 1987, following the adaptation of two of his stories for the movies, Rawhead Rex and Transmutations, (both of which he disliked), he decided todirect something himself. The result was Hellraiser, based on a novella called The Hellbound Heart. The film developed a cult following and has since spawned two sequels - Hellraiser 2: Hellbound and Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth - as well as a line of comic books, plastic models and a host of related items.
Subsequently, Barker adapted his short story "Cabal" into the film Nightbreed, which he directed, prompting the appearance of a series of Nightbreed comic books published by Marvel. Barker also created the original story idea for the film Candyman:Farewell to the Flesh.
Since the release of his novels Weaveworld and The Great and Secret Show, several Barker-related publications have appeared: a comic series called Tapping the Vein and a large format book covering his art work called Clive Barker: Illustrator. Further comic book titles have also appeared: The Harrowers, Barkerverse and Razorline, on an imprint created by Marvel solely for Clive Barker comic books.
His novel Imajica was published in 1991 and was followed by a fable for children and adults called The Thief of Always. He has recently completed a sequel to The Great and Secret Show entitled Everville.
Film-wise, he recently directed his own screenplay called The Lord of Illusions. Hellraiser IV has also just recently completed production. In 1996 Barker published the novel Sacrament and his first book of plays titled Incarnations.
Barker also recently completed a highly successful run at the Bess Culter Gallery in New York, where he had his first one-man art exhibition.
Coming this year will be the second book of plays titled Forms Of Heaven, The Thief Of Always animated film, a new gallery showing in L.A. and another novel.