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 in 1948). He is best known as a writer of epic historical novels that 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; Paris; and China.

His books have sold more than fifteen million copies and been translated into twenty languages.[4] 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[5] and was awarded the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, by the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York, in 2011.[6]

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."[7]


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 civilisation to modern times - a kind of historical fiction inspired by the work of James Michener.[8]

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.[9][10]


Edward Rutherfurd talks about New York novel on Bookbits radio.


  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. ^ "Edward Rutherfurd || Biography || Official Site".
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Medals Awarded by the Society". SaintNicholasSociety.org. Retrieved 20 December 2015. He won for 2011.
  7. ^ "Vanessa Montfort and Edward Rutherfurd, recipients of the XI International Historical Novel Prize "City of Zaragoza"". Zaragoza City Council News. 20 May 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Silver, Steven H (November 2009). "Review of New York by Edward Rutherfurd". SF Site. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Family Tree from Paris" (PDF). Edward Rutherfurd Official Site. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  11. ^ "China by Edward Rutherfurd". Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 29 January 2017.

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