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Adam Foulds

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Adam Foulds

Foulds at the PalFest 2010 in Palestine
Foulds at the PalFest 2010 in Palestine
BornAdam Samuel James Foulds
(1974-10-08) 8 October 1974 (age 49)
London, United Kingdom
Occupationpoet, novelist
EducationMaster's degree
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
Years active2007–present
SpouseCharla Jones

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


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'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]

He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, after marrying Canadian photographer Charla Jones.[8]

Awards and honours[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
2007 The Truth About These Strange Times Betty Trask Award Won [9]
Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award Won [10]
2008 The Broken Word John Llewellyn Rhys Prize Shortlisted [11]
Costa Book Awards Poetry Won [12]
2009 Somerset Maugham Award Won
Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award Shortlisted [13]
The Quickening Maze Booker Prize Shortlisted [14]
Encore Award Won [15]
2010 Walter Scott Prize Shortlisted [16]
Himself Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature Honored [17]
2011 The Quickening Maze European Union Prize for Literature Won
2013 Granta Best of Young British Novelists (Granta) Won
2015 In the Wolf's Mouth Walter Scott Prize Shortlisted [18]
2019 Dream Sequence Giller Prize Longlisted [19]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • 2007: The Truth About These Strange Times
  • 2008: The Broken Word
  • 2009: The Quickening Maze
  • 2014: In the Wolf's Mouth
  • 2019: Dream Sequence

See also[edit]


  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. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008.
  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. ^ "Archive Access - Granta Magazine". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Adam Foulds explores the anxiety around status in our contemporary culture". Toronto Star, 26 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Creative Writing - UEA". www.uea.ac.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  10. ^ Holgate, Andrew (27 April 2008). "Adam Foulds on getting started getting published and getting noticed". The Times. London.
  11. ^ "Book Trade Announcements - Men Dominate The Shortlist For The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize". www.booktrade.info. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Costa Book Award winners revealed". BBC News. 5 January 2009.
  13. ^ "Oxford Literary Festival Special: The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award". The Times. London. 15 March 2009.
  14. ^ Flood, Alison (8 September 2009). "Man Booker prize shortlist pits veteran Coetzee against bookies' favourite Mantel". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^ "The Encore Award 2011 - The Society of Authors". Society of Authors. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Booker rivals clash again on Walter Scott prize shortlist", The Guardian, 2 April 2010
  17. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  18. ^ "2015 Shortlist announced". Walter Scott Prize. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Margaret Atwood, Andre Alexis among 12 authors up for $100,000 Giller book prize". Toronto Star, September 3, 2019.