Adam Foulds

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Adam Samuel James Foulds FRSL (/ˈfldz/ FOHLDZ;[1] born 8 October 1974) is a British novelist and poet.

Adam Foulds
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds (Jonathan Cape Ltd, 2009)


Foulds was educated at Bancroft's School, read English at St Catherine's College, Oxford under Craig Raine, and graduated with an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in 2001.[2]

In 2007, Foulds published his first book, The Truth About These Strange Times. The novel, which is set in the present day, is concerned in part with the World Memory Championships.

In 2008, Foulds published a substantial narrative poem entitled The Broken Word, described by the critic Peter Kemp as a "verse novella".[3] It is a fictional version of some events during the Mau Mau Uprising. Writing in The Guardian, David Wheatley suggested that "The Broken Word is a moving and pitiless depiction of the world as it is rather than as we might like it to be, and the terrible things we do to defend our place in it".[4]

In 2009, his novel The Quickening Maze was published. Recommending the work in a 'books of the year' survey, novelist Julian Barnes declared: 'Having last year greatly admired Adam Foulds's long poem "The Broken Word", I uncharitably wondered whether his novel The Quickening Maze (Cape) might allow me to tacitly advise him to stick to verse. Some hope: this story of the Victorian lunatic asylum where the poet John Clare and Tennyson's brother Septimus were incarcerated is the real thing. It's not a "poetic novel" either, but a novelistic novel, rich in its understanding and representation of the mad, the sane, and that large overlapping category in between'.[5]

On 7 January 2010, he was published on the Guardian Website's "Over by Over" (OBO) coverage of day five of the Third Test of the South Africa v England series at Newlands, Cape Town. Foulds's published email corrected the OBO writer, Andy Bull, who, in the 77th over, posted lines by Donne in reference to Ian Ronald Bell in verse form: "No doubt I won't be the first pedant to let you know that the Donne you quote is in fact from a prose meditation. The experiment in retrofitting twentieth century free verse technique to it is interesting but the line breaks shouldn't really be there."[6]

In 2013 he was included in the Granta list of 20 best young writers,.[7]

Awards and honours[edit]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • 2007: The Truth About These Strange Times
  • 2008: The Broken Word
  • 2009: The Quickening Maze
  • 2014: In the Wolf's Mouth


  1. ^ Sangster, Catherine (14 September 2009). "How to Say: JM Coetzee and other Booker authors". BBC News. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Guest, Katy (7 November 2008). "Rising Star: Adam Foulds, poet and novelist". The Independent (London). 
  3. ^ "The Broken Word by Adam Foulds". The Times (London). 20 April 2008. 
  4. ^ Wheatley, David (12 April 2008). "Blood and diamonds". The Guardian (London). 
  5. ^ "Christmas books". The Guardian (London). 28 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Andy Bull and Simon Burnton (7 January 2010). "South Africa v England – day five as it happened". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Holgate, Andrew (27 April 2008). "Adam Foulds on getting started getting published and getting noticed". The Times (London). 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Costa Book Award winners revealed". BBC News. 5 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Oxford Literary Festival Special: The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award". The Times (London). 15 March 2009. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Flood, Alison (8 September 2009). "Man Booker prize shortlist pits veteran Coetzee against bookies' favourite Mantel". The Guardian (London). 
  15. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Booker rivals clash again on Walter Scott prize shortlist", The Guardian, 2 April 2010
  17. ^ "2015 Shortlist announced". Walter Scott Prize. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.