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There are lots and lots of people on the web repeating a claimed quote by Neil Gaiman, with some variations:

A book is a dream [that] you hold in your hand[s].

Very few of these people bother to cite a source. Those who do, cite some other web page. No one seems to be citing something actually written by Neil Gaiman, or an interview with him, or a tweet, or anything.

Did he really say or write this? Where?

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I cannot find the source of the original quote. However Neil retweeted an image that showed the quote and said "beautiful."

enter image description here

Since this is from his verified Twitter account and he did not deny he is the source of the quote, I think it is safe to assume he said it.

  • Neil Gaiman also recently liked this tweed, with the same quote on a mug. (If you're looking into further evidence) :D – Gallifreyan Jun 28 '17 at 18:35
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The original poster from 2003
Click for full resolution

It was "hands" originally, in the P. Craig Russell's The Sandman poster from 2003, drawn for the American Library Association promotional "@ Your Library" series.

Also featured in The Absolute Sandman vol. 5.

P. Craig Russell also addresses this poster in The Art of P. Craig Russell:

In 1993, I was approached by the National Library Association though DC Comics to produce their annual posters, given away to libraries across the country. This year featured Sandman, a graphic novel favorite, its success sometimes measured by its disappearance from the shelves. This piece got great distribution through libraries, but has seldom been seen elsewhere.

Page from "The Art of P. Craig Russell
Click for full resolution

Notice that the poster doesn't have the words on it, so they must have been added by Neil Gaiman.

In fact, one can see this poster in the book being leafed through in this video (at ~0:29).

  • 1
    Awesome! Thank you. Um ... I'm skeptical that your username reflects reality, though it would be awfully cool if it did :) – Tom Zych Nov 13 '15 at 2:01
  • @TomZych: Until Stack Exchange offers verified accounts, I think skepticism is called for too. – Oddthinking Nov 13 '15 at 6:32
  • I'm holding Absolute Sandman vol. 5 right now. This picture is on page 599, attributed to P. Craig Russel. It was created for American Library Association promotional "@ Your Library" series. – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 10:06
  • You know … reviewing this, it seems to me that none of this is actually evidence that Neil Gaiman wrote the phrase himself. The linked ALA page says “The art is inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series” (which tells us nothing at all about the phrase), and “The poster and bookmark were created in cooperation with DC Comics” (which says nothing about the phrase’s authorship). The phrase may well have been written by unknown persons at the ALA and/or DC, with no input from Neil Gaiman at all. – Tom Zych May 24 at 2:15

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