Edward Rutherfurd

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Edward Rutherfurd
Born 1948
Salisbury, England
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Genre Historical novels
Notable works Sarum

Edward Rutherfurd is a pen name for Francis Edward Wintle[1] (born 1948 in Salisbury, England) known primarily as a writer of epic historical novels. His debut novel Sarum set the pattern for his work with a ten-thousand year storyline.


Educated locally and at the University of Cambridge and Stanford Business School, where he was a Sloan scholar, he worked in political research, bookselling and publishing. After numerous attempts to write books and plays, he finally 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.

Four years later, when the book was published, it became an instant international best-seller, remaining for 23 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Since then he has written seven more best-sellers: Russka, a novel of Russia; London; The Forest, set in England's New Forest which lies close by Sarum, and 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 his latest Paris.

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

Rutherfurd’s novels chronicle the history of settlements through their development up to modern day, mixing fictional characters and families with real people and events—a kind of historical fiction pioneered by James Michener.

New York: The Novel, won the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction in 2010 [3] and was awarded the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, by the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York, in 2011 [4]

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."


Known as a James Michener disciple,[5] Rutherfurd invents four to six fictional families and tells the stories of their descendants. Using this framework, he weaves them in and out of historical situations, having them interact not only with each other, but also with significant historical figures.


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.


Edward Rutherfurd talks about New York novel on Bookbits radio.


  1. ^ http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/headlines/sloan50_road.html
  2. ^ Edward Rutherfurd Official Website; See also: "A Tale of Ireland Forever, or at Least 1,100 Years" , [1], Mel Gussow, 28 April 2004,New York Times
  3. ^ The Langum Charitable Trust
  4. ^ "Medals of The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York". www.saintnicholassociety.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  5. ^ Quilligan, Maureen (13 September 1987). "Older Than Texas, Bigger Than Israel". New York Times Book Review. ; see also: Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (7 August 1997). "London: Greed, Lust and Glory on the Thames". New York Times. 

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