He was Chief Publisher's Reader from 1987-90 for Chatto & Windus.
Spufford specializes in works of non-fiction.
- I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination, 1996 - won literary prizes including the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, Writers Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and the Somerset Maugham Award in 1997.
- The Child That Books Built, 2002
- Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin, 2003 - nominated for the Aventis Prize
- Red Plenty, 2010 - longlisted for the Orwell Prize, and translated into Dutch, Spanish, Estonian, Polish, German and Russian, with versions in Italian and Turkish following. This is a fusion of history and fiction which dramatises the period in the history of the USSR (c.1960) when it seemed possible that communism could create greater abundance than capitalism. It is influenced by science fiction, and uses many of its tools, but is not itself SF.
- Unapologetic, 2012
He has also edited two volumes of polar literature.
He is the son of the social historian Margaret Spufford and the economic historian Peter Spufford. He lives just outside Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is a practising Christian.
- "Department of English & Comparative Literature: Francis Spufford". Goldsmiths College. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "The Somerset Maugham Awards: Past Winners". The Society of Authors. Retrieved 2010-12-04.