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Ken Follett

Biography

Ken Follett

Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 160 million copies of the 30 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.

Born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a fellow of the college in 1995.

He started his career as a reporter, first with his hometown newspaper, the South Wales Echo, and then with the London Evening News. Subsequently, he worked for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming the deputy managing director.

Ken’s last project, the Century Trilogy, has sold 19.5 million copies worldwide. The three books tell the story of the twentieth century through five generations on three continents.

Ken’s first major success came with the publication of EYE OF THE NEEDLE in 1978. A World War II thriller set in England, this book earned him the 1979 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. It remains one of his most popular books.

In 1989, Ken’s epic novel about the building of a medieval cathedral, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, was published. It reached number one on bestseller lists everywhere and was turned into a major television series produced by Ridley Scott, which aired in 2010. WORLD WITHOUT END, the sequel to THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, proved equally popular when it was published in 2007. 

Ken’s next book, titled A COLUMN OF FIRE, is a historical novel about spies and secret agents in the sixteenth century, the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Set partly in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, it is a sequel to bestsellers THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH and WORLD WITHOUT END and will be published by Viking in Fall 2017.

Ken has been active in numerous literacy charities and was the president of Dyslexia Action for ten years. He was the chair of the National Year of Reading, a joint initiative between government and businesses. He is also active in many Stevenage charities and is the president of the Stevenage Community Trust. 

Ken, who loves music almost as much as he loves books, is an enthusiastic bass guitar player in two bands. He lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, with his wife, Barbara, the former Labour member of Parliament for Stevenage. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and three Labradors.

Photo: © Olivier Favre

Ken Follett

Books by Ken Follett

by Ken Follett - Fiction, Historical Fiction, History

Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.

by Ken Follett - Fiction, Historical Fiction

Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy follows the fortunes of five intertwined families --- American, German, Russian, English and Welsh --- as they make their way through the 20th century. EDGE OF ETERNITY, the finale, covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, encompassing civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution --- and rock and roll.

by Ken Follett - Fiction, Historical Fiction

WINTER OF THE WORLD picks up right where FALL OF GIANTS left off, as its five interrelated families --- American, German, Russian, English and Welsh --- enter a time of enormous social, political and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.

written by Ken Follett, read by Richard E. Grant - Fiction, Historical Fiction

In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, a sweeping epic novel set in 12th-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. WORLD WITHOUT END takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own.