Edward Rutherfurd

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Edward Rutherfurd
Salisbury, England
GenreHistorical novels
Notable worksSarum

Edward Rutherfurd is a pen name for Francis Edward Wintle[1] (born 1948 in Salisbury, England). He is best known as a writer of epic historical novels which span long periods of history but are set in particular places. His debut novel Sarum set the pattern for his work with a ten-thousand-year storyline.


Rutherfurd attended the University of Cambridge and Stanford Business School, where he earned a Sloan fellowship.[1][2] After graduating he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing.[2] He abandoned his career in the book trade in 1983 and returned to his childhood home to write Sarum, a historical novel with a ten-thousand year story, set in the area around the ancient monument of Stonehenge and Salisbury.[3]

Sarum was published in 1987 and became an instant international best-seller, remaining for 23 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.[citation needed] Since then he produced seven more New York Times best-sellers: Russka, a novel of Russia; London; The Forest, set in England's New Forest which lies close by Sarum; two novels, Dublin: Foundation (The Princes of Ireland) and Ireland: Awakening (The Rebels of Ireland), which cover the story of Ireland from the time just before Saint Patrick to the twentieth century; New York; and Paris.

His books have sold more than fifteen million copies and been translated into twenty languages.[citation needed] Rutherfurd settled near Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990s, but currently divides his time between Europe and North America.[2]

New York: The Novel, won the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction in 2009[4] and was awarded the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, by the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York, in 2011.[5]

In 2015 Edward Rutherfurd was the recipient of the City of Zaragoza's International Historical Novel Honor Award "for his body of work in the field of the historical novel."[6]


Rutherfurd invents four to six fictional families and tells the stories of their descendants. Using this framework, he chronicles the history of a place, often from the beginning of civilization to modern times - a kind of historical fiction inspired by the work of James Michener.[7]

Rutherfurd's novels are generally at least 500 pages and sometimes even over 1,000. Divided into a number of parts, each chapter represents a different era in the area of the novel's history. There is usually an extensive family tree in the introduction, and each generational line matches with the corresponding chapters.[8][9]

Rutherfurd was not the first to write a successful novel about a place through history with connected stories through time. One notable forerunner was John Masters' "The Rock" (1970) which does essentially the same for Gibraltar.


Edward Rutherfurd talks about New York novel on Bookbits radio.
  • Sarum (1987) latterly titled Sarum: the Novel of England
  • Russka (1991) sometimes titled Russka: the Novel of Russia
  • London (1997)
  • The Forest (2000)
  • Dublin: Foundation (2004) titled The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga in North America
  • Ireland: Awakening (2006) titled The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga in North America
  • New York (September 2009)
  • Paris (April 2013) sometimes titled Paris: A Novel
  • China (September 2020)[10]


  1. ^ a b Pimentel, Ben. "Sloan Graduates Take the Road Less Traveled". Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Biography". Edward Rutherfurd Official Website. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  3. ^ Rutherfurd, Edward (1987). Sarum. Random House. ISBN 9780099527305.
  4. ^ "Past Winners of the David J. Langum Sr. Prizes: 2009, Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction". LangumTrust.org. 2009. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Medals Awarded by the Society". SaintNicholasSociety.org. Retrieved 20 December 2015. He won for 2011.
  6. ^ "Vanessa Montfort and Edward Rutherfurd, recipients of the XI International Historical Novel Prize "City of Zaragoza"". Zaragoza City Council News. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ Tod, Mary (2013). "Edward Rutherfurd talks Paris, the creative process and the ebb and flow of historical fiction with Mary Tod". Historical Novel Society. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ Silver, Steven H (November 2009). "Review of New York by Edward Rutherfurd". SF Site. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Family Tree from Paris" (PDF). Edward Rutherfurd Official Site. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  10. ^ "China by Edward Rutherfurd". Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 29 January 2017.

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