How to pronounce Ken Follett: fohl-ette
Ken Follett is a Welsh author of thrillers and historical novels. He has sold more than 130 million copies of his works. Many of his books have reached the number 1 ranking on the New York Times best-seller list.
He was born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy (he was made a Fellow of the college in 1995).
He became a reporter, first with his home-town newspaper the South Wales Echo and later with the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a bestseller. He then went to work for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director. He continued to write novels in his spare time.
He burst into the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film starring Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland.
His other bestsellers include: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions, Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, and World Without End.
He was Chair of the National Year of Reading 1998-99, a British government initiative to raise literacy levels. He was president of the charity Dyslexia Action for ten years. He is a member of The Welsh Academy, a board director of the National Academy of Writing, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
In 2007 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Literature (D.Litt.) by the University of Glamorgan, and similar degrees by Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, where his papers are kept in the Ken Follett Archive; and (in 2008) by the University of Exeter. In 2013, he was made a Grand Master at the Edgar Awards in New York.
He is active in numerous Stevenage charities and was a governor of Roebuck Primary School for ten years, serving as Chair of Governors for four of those years.
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