Ruth Scurr

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Dr Ruth Scurr (born 1971, London)[citation needed] is a British writer, historian and literary critic. She is a Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.[1] She was educated at St Bernard's Convent, Slough; Oxford University, Cambridge University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. She won a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2000.

Her first book, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution (Chatto & Windus, 2006; Metropolitan Books, 2006) won the Franco-British Society Literary Prize (2006), was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize (2006), long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize (2007) and was listed among the 100 Best Books of the Decade in The Times in 2009. [2] It has been translated into five languages.

Scurr began reviewing regularly for The Times and The Times Literary Supplement in 1997. [3] Since then she has also written for The Daily Telegraph, [4] The Observer, New Statesman, [5] The London Review of Books, [6] The New York Review of Books, The Nation, [7] The New York Observer, The Guardian [8] and The Wall Street Journal.[9]

She was a judge on the Man Booker Prize panel in 2007, and the Samuel Johnson Prize panel in 2014. [10][11] [12] She is a member of the Folio Prize Academy.[13]

Scurr is Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences for Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where she has been a Fellow since 2006. Her research interests include: 17th and 18th century history of ideas; biographical, autobiographical and life writing; the British and French Enlightenments; the French Revolution; Revolutionary Memoir; early Feminist Political Thought; and contemporary fiction in English.

She was married to the political theorist John Dunn[citation needed] between 1997 and 2013. She has two daughters and a stepson.


  • John Aubrey: My Own Life (Chatto and Windus, 2015)
  • Fatal Purity – Robespierre and the French Revolution (Chatto and Windus, 2006; Metropolitan Books, 2006)


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