Hi Reddit! This is Holly and Maddy Gaiman and we’ve both been asked to participate in a Reddit AMA as part of the Humble Books Bundle: Neil Gaiman Rarities that launched today in support of CBLDF and The Moth Education Program. Holly is the Executive Director of The Gaiman Foundation and will soon receive her Masters in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy. You can find her millinery work at hollygaiman.com. Maddy is a college senior whose career so far spans Teen Vogue, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and even found time to guest blog/vlog on her father’s journal over the years. Holly and Maddy have each contributed works to the Humble Bundle with the short story, Holly’s Story, (featured in Sweeney Todd and Other Stories), as well as Love, Fishie, a collection of poems and short stories, respectively.

Ask us anything!

Holly's Proof

Maddy's Proof

Update: Thanks so much for joining us today! It was a pleasure answering your questions. We're off. Have a great day!

Comments: 106 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

ozchrisb45 karma

How weird is your Dad then?

hollyGaiman70 karma

He's pretty weird, to be honest. Have you seen his hair?

rnbwpnt29 karma

Are congrats on the new addition to your family appropriate? How is everybody doing with that?

hollyGaiman53 karma

Yes!!!! We can't wait. I love that I will have a baby brother who is 30(!!) years younger than me.

brusselsproutsfiend24 karma

Did you have any special moments growing up with your dad that you feel inspired you/influenced who you are today?

hollyGaiman55 karma

When I was little he would stay up writing all night. I would wake up in the night and go in and hang out with him in the middle of the night, dictating stories, listening to music, and falling asleep at his feet underneath his desk. We've always been close. He's a good one.

SixthExtinction19 karma

Hi Holly and Maddy! Have you read your dad's books? I was just introduced to his writing a couple of months ago, and think it's terrific. What's your favorite (if you have one)? Has his writing/career inspired your decisions to move in the directions you did?

hollyGaiman39 karma

I've read a lot of his books, though I have to admit not all of them. My teenage rebellion was refusing to read Sandman. I still haven't read it (though now it's more because the collected editions are big and heavy and not so good for lugging about with me than intentionally not reading them). I looooove Anansi Boys.

beBlueberry18 karma

Maddy, as the youngest (or possibly by your preference), you've grown up a bit more in the spotlight as Neil Gaiman's daughter. How do you feel that affected your childhood? Are you recognized (at school, etc) by people who read your dad's blog?

Both of you - how do you feel about Amanda and the new baby half-brother?

hollyGaiman32 karma


web-goblin15 karma

A question for each of you: what is your favorite thing that The Gaiman Foundation has supported to date, and are there any causes/organizations/initiatives on the horizon that you are excited to launch?

ETA: It's wonderful how involved you both have been out in the trenches, so to speak; kudos to you both!

hollyGaiman25 karma

My particular baby is Lava Mae ( lavamae.org ) who provide mobile showers for the homeless in SF. We supported them before their first bus was launched and continue to do so- they launched the second bus yesterday!! I also volunteer with Lava Mae, cleaning showers between uses etc.

Right now we are in a capacity building phase (aka need to build up an endowment) so I'm most excited about continuing to support our current grantees (such as the awesome Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) and then once we have a proper endowment branching out to see how we can have even more impact.

Greystorms13 karma


How did you get into making hats, of all things? Your work is stunning, and I'm curious what brought you into such a cool profession/hobby.

hollyGaiman14 karma

Thanks so much, I'm glad you like them! I was living in London and I'd done some wedding photography for very posh British weddings where everyone was wearing hats. I thought they were beautiful and incredible and I wanted to make them, so when I had some downtime I took a short training course. I was hooked. I then spent three years training in london to make them.

4kbar13 karma

Hi Holly! Huge fan. What is your favorite style of hat?

hollyGaiman17 karma

Aw Thanks! I am not so into casual hats, but I love a gorgeous glamorous headpiece. A head turner that takes your breath away. That's sort of thing I aim to make. A sculpture on your head.

Lfin2312 karma

Hi lovelies! I first "discovered" your dad when he was namechecked in Tori Amos' song Tear in Your Hand well over 20 years ago! I was intrigued to find out who "Neil" was (as i was a dedicated Tori fan!) and it opened up a whole new amazing literary world for me. Do either of you remember her in your childhoods?

hollyGaiman2 karma

90% of the concerts I remember from my childhood were Tori. We would see her whenever she was on tour nearby. We knew her as one of dad's best friends.
She is Maddy's godmother, so they have a bit of a special connection.

captainguybrush11 karma

Hi Holly and Maddy. Thanks for doing this AMA! What kind of stuff do you like to write best and what advice could you give to young aspiring writers?

hollyGaiman38 karma

I'd have to say young is best- I wrote 'Holly's Story' when I was five, sitting on my dad's lap and dictating to him.
Dad's advice is always to finish what you start. I particularly like this advice when it comes to ice cream.

zifnabxar9 karma

Thanks for doing this, Holly and Maddy. I'm a big fan of your father's writing and it looks like you two are doing great things as well. Two questions:

  1. What was it like growing up with such a famous father? Did you ever feel like you were always in his shadow?

  2. A lot of your father's work is not the most kid friendly. Were you ever told you weren't allowed to read some of his work until you got older? Were there ever any problems with him talking about his work with you?

hollyGaiman21 karma

Maddy and I are nine years apart. When I was little, he was a struggling journalist just starting to find success, and not the famous person he is now. It's a big weird, because I know what it was like not having a famous father, she doesn't really.

We were always allowed to read whatever we wanted growing up. We tended to self censor as opposed to having him censor.

wanouk7 karma

Any good stories from visits to Utrecht?

hollyGaiman19 karma

I love Utrecht! Amanda's sister lives there and so we've been there a couple times. Dad nearly died there (kinda an exaggeration) but he fell off a 10 foot drop onto red wine bottles- they shattered and broke his fall. When I ran over, I just saw red everywhere and thought it was blood and he was dead. WORST MOMENT OF MY LIFE. It's okay though, he was fine, obviously.
I'm not sure that counts as a good story.

mrmaxwellmusic7 karma

Hello Hello. This question is for both of you: What is your favorite type of nonfiction to read? As a follow up, have you read any thing good lately?

hollyGaiman9 karma

As I'm doing a masters right now, I am only reading things to do with that. I can't wait to finish in six weeks and read for pleasure!!!

GitaTcua7 karma

Do you also like writing with fountain pens?

hollyGaiman12 karma

I love a good fountain pen, though if I'm using one it is because I have nicked one of dad's. He has such pretty pens and inks!

missjavert7 karma

Hi, Holly and Maddy! I'm always so curious about the creative processes of other artists. What inspires both of you? Conversely, what zaps your creative spirit? Thanks!

hollyGaiman8 karma

I love making hats, and that's my primary artistic outlet. My inspirations tend to be taken from interesting shapes or lines. I love creating something for the eye to follow.

cabridges5 karma

Hi Gaimans! Is there anything your dad has written that he's asked you not to read?

hollyGaiman16 karma

Nope! I do have to admit it's a bit awkward when he writes about sex (American Gods for example).

Eggbert3155 karma

Hi Holly and Maddy! What, if any, music do you like listening to when you're in the process of creating (hats, prose, anything) and does the music change depending on what you're creating?

hollyGaiman6 karma

I love listening to audiobooks. It doesn't change depending on what I am creating, but if I am working on something that will take a loooooong time to finish, I try to choose a long book.

Eggbert3155 karma

So now I have to ask: What are your favorites audiobooks and do you have favorite narrators? Do you prefer single narrators or full cast audiobooks or does that not matter?

hollyGaiman6 karma

I recently listened to the Chronicles of St Mary's series narrated by Jodi Taylor, which I enjoyed. When working I prefer books that are interesting and light- I first listened to The Night Circus when working. That was perfect! I'm always looking for suggestions if you have any!

Eggbert3153 karma

Hah! Wonderful, I will check those two out. I most memorable Audiobooks I listened to recently were Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, Junky by William S. Burroughs, and On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. They were all very interesting but the exact opposite of light. The Humble Bundle occasionally has audiobook bundles so I would check back with them semi-regularly; these books I just mentioned I purchased from the humble bundle.

If I remember lighter but still interesting audiobooks I'll post them as a reply to you here.

hollyGaiman3 karma


danguyf4 karma

Maddy - How much do you miss the Hiptop/Sidekick? Your father hasn't converted you to the Blackberry, has he?

hollyGaiman5 karma

Maddy and I both have iPhones actually. I haven't used the blackberry much, but dad raves about his.

themightykevdog3 karma

Are you going to be volunteering to babysit? More seriously, how do you approach finishing the art that you start?

hollyGaiman8 karma

Of course!! I can't wait to take care of the little nugget.

Re: finishing. It's juuuust after you give up that something becomes great. When I want to give up, I try to remember that if I just keep going a little more, there's a chance it will become wonderful.

hauman3 karma

Hello, Gaiwomen. Will "Don't Panic" be added as an unlock, or is it still considered in print? How about "Eaten"?

hollyGaiman4 karma

That's a very good question. I don't have the answer. I do know they have a lot of treats stashed away, so I wouldn't be surprised. EDIT: Some things depend on copyright, thought, so if they don't have the copyright permission, probably not.

leksa44443 karma

Hi Maddy and Holly! I am a big movie freak. So my questions are: Have you seen any good movies lately and could you name a couple of your favorite movies?

Thanks already for the answer! All the best from Finland.

hollyGaiman7 karma

I LOVED Pride. It was so excellent. I love a movie that makes me cry and laugh and feel like I'm learning something. It was all of those things.

degoba1 karma

What is your opinion of the Film Adaptation of Stardust? Did your dad get to have a lot of input? Did you take a field trip to the set ever? I actually just want to know if you got to see Robert DeNiro in drag.

hollyGaiman2 karma

I actually worked on Stardust. I started out as an intern, and when my internship finished they didn't want me to leave so they hired me. I loved working on it, mostly because the team I worked with were incredible and are still close friends to this day.
Dad did have quite a bit of input. He visited set a couple times. So did Maddy!

Also- I totally got to see him in drag. They actually drove his car onto the sound stage when we were filming that scene so no pictures of him or anything would possibly leak. Isn't that scene the best?

flengteach1 karma

Ladies, I so enjoy your father's writing and have tried as often as possible to incorporate it into my college Composition classes as often as possible. In fact, we just finished reading "Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreams" yesterday. So, I guess my question is for Holly. In that article/talk, your dad mentions recommending a certain book to you when you were 11 and you moving into "safe stories" after that. My question is does your dad still recommend books to you? And now that you're older, do you take those recommendations? Oh, and what books have you (both) recommended to him?

hollyGaiman2 karma

I think that adults often don't give kids enough credit to pace themselves. As an 11 year old, I was happily reading Goosebumps and he helpfully offered Carrie. I wasn't really ready for Carrie as an 11 year old. I do think I've shied away from horror since. These days he doesn't really recommend books to me. I was an English lit major in college and my tastes in literature differed from his quite a bit around that point. I focussed on Southern African literature written in English at that point.