Author profiles submitted by Chris Bacon, Mason County District Library


Ken Follett was born in June of 1949 in Cardiff, Wales. He is the oldest of four children and grew up barred from listening to the radio and watching any movies or TV because of his strict religious parents. Because of this Ken developed an early interest in reading to keep him entertained. His family moved to London when he was ten and after graduating from Poole Technical College he went on to the University College London in 1967. There he studied philosophy and became involved in center-left politics.


He met his first wife Mary at college and they were married in 1968. Ken graduated in the fall of 1970 and took a three month post-graduate course in journalism and went to work as a trainee reporter in Cardiff, South Wales. After three years Ken and his wife returned to London and he worked as a reporter for the Evening News. After becoming discontent with journalism he went to work for the London publishing company Everest Books and worked his way up to deputy managing director. He began writing during this time because he needed money to fix his car. He sold his first book in 1974 called “The Big Needle” and sold ten more books before his first best seller in 1978 called “Eye of the Needle,” which made him wealthy and an international bestselling author.


While in London Ken became active in politics and was a strong supporter and still is of Britain's Labour Party. While working with the party he met a party official named Barbara Broer who became his second wife in 1984. She went on to be elected to Parliament in 1997, 2001, and 2005. She retired when her term ended in 2010. They currently live in Hertfordshire, England.


Ken has written twenty-nine books over his forty year writing career with over 150 million copies of his books printed worldwide. He has spread his writing talent across many genres including spy thrillers, historical fiction, suspense thrillers, and nonfiction.   Along with standalone fiction novels he has written several different series including the “Kingsbridge” series and “The Century” trilogy. His latest work published in September 2014 was the “Edge of Eternity” and was the conclusion of the “The Century” trilogy.   The novels followed the fortunes of five intertwined families from different parts of the world as they made their way through the twentieth century.   “Edge of Eternity” follows the families as they make their way through the Cold War and the turmoil of the 1960's and boom years of the 1980's. He is currently working on his next project the third part of the “Pillars of the Earth” trilogy, which follows a family and their descendants through the middle ages.


Several of his books have been made into television mini-series including “The Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End.” His first bestselling book “Eye of the Needle” was made into a feature film starring Donald Sutherland and was a cinematic and commercial success. He has won numerous literary awards for his work and several of his novels have been on the New York Times bestselling list.


Ken and his wife are very active in charity work in England. He is a member of various organizations that promote literacy and writing and was even a governor of a primary school for ten years. He is also very active in politics and is still a strong supporter of the Labour Party.


Ken has very few critics of his work. The biggest gripe they have is usually the length of his books, which are frequently well over 500 pages long. His millions of fans rave about his ability to convey so much drama and historic information so vividly and make history so much fun to read. They say he is a master craftsman with fascinating characters and the ability to weave great historic events into exciting plots and page turning stories. His stories contain all the best things in books romance, suspense, action, intrigue, violence and passion.


Although no author can write quite write like Ken does there are several authors that come close to matching his incredible story telling. They are Frederick Forsyth, Jeffery Archer, Daniel Silva, John Jakes, Nelson DeMille, Bernard Cornwell, and Colleen McCullough.


So if you are looking to spend some time on the edge of your seat reading a suspense thriller. Or maybe you want to get caught up in the intrigue of a spy novel. Or perhaps you want to travel back in time with a family and visit the Middle Ages or how life was like back during World War I you should give Ken Follett a try. You will soon find yourself experiencing the lives of people who have lived through the greatest moments in history and have lived lives most people only can dream of.