Ruth Scurr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ruth Scurr 2009.jpg

Dr Ruth Scurr FRSL (born 1971, London)[citation needed] is a British writer, historian and literary critic. She is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.[1] She was educated at St Bernard's Convent, Slough; Oxford University, Cambridge University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. She won a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2000.


Her first book, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution (Chatto & Windus, 2006; Metropolitan Books, 2006) won the Franco-British Society Literary Prize (2006), was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize (2006), long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize (2007) and was listed among the 100 Best Books of the Decade in The Times in 2009.[2] It has been translated into five languages.

Her second book, John Aubrey: My own Life (Chatto & Windus, 2015; New York Review of Books, 2016) was shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Biography Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. It was chosen as a 2015 Book of the Year in fifteen newspapers and magazines, including: the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Sunday Express, the Guardian, the Spectator and the New Statesman. It was chosen as a 2016 Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review and the Washington Post.

Her third book, Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows (Chatto & Windus, 2021; Norton, 2021) was published to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's death.


Scurr began reviewing regularly for The Times and The Times Literary Supplement in 1997.[3] Since then she has also written for The Daily Telegraph,[4] The Observer, New Statesman,[5] The London Review of Books,[6] The New York Review of Books, The Nation,[7] The New York Observer, The Guardian [8] and The Wall Street Journal.[9] She was a consultant editor at The Times Literary Supplement from 2015-20.

She was a judge on the Man Booker Prize panel in 2007, and the Samuel Johnson Prize panel in 2014.[10][11][12] She is a member of the Folio Prize Academy.[13]

Scurr is Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences for Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where she has been a Fellow since 2006. Her research interests include: 17th and 18th century history of ideas; biographical, autobiographical and life writing; the British and French Enlightenments; the French Revolution; Revolutionary Memoir; early Feminist Political Thought; and contemporary fiction in English.

Personal life[edit]

She was married to the political theorist John Dunn[citation needed] between 1997 and 2013. She has two daughters and a stepson. On 6 July 2021 she married Peter Stothard



  • Scurr, Ruth (2006). Fatal purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution. London: Chatto & Windus.
  • — (2015). John Aubrey: my own life. London: Chatto & Windus.
  • Scurr, Ruth (2021). Napoloeon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows. London: Chatto & Windus.

Dissertations, theses[edit]

  • Scurr, Ruth (2000). The social foundations of the modern republic : P.-L. Roederer's Cours d'organisation sociale (Ph.D.). University of Cambridge.

Critical studies and reviews[edit]

  • Anon. (11 April 2015). "A man for all seasons". Books and Arts. The Economist. Vol. 415, no. 8933. pp. 74–75. Review of John Aubrey.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dr Ruth Scurr". Gonville & Cauis. February 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  2. ^ "The Times Online 100 Best Books of the Decade (2000-2009) (113 books)". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Ruth Scurr | Search | TLS". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  4. ^ "All articles by Ruth Scurr -". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014.
  5. ^ "NS Library - Ruth Scurr". Archived from the original on 21 November 2006.
  6. ^ "Ruth Scurr · LRB". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Ruth Scurr". 2 April 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Ruth Scurr - The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  9. ^ Scurr, Ruth (7 March 2014). "Book Review: 'Whistler' by Daniel e. Sutherland". Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ "Ruth Scurr | The Man Booker Prizes". Archived from the original on 22 September 2012.
  11. ^ Ruth Scurr (15 June 2007). "Ruth Scurr". The Times. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction 2007, BBC FOUR, The UK's most Prestigious non-fiction award , The UK's richest non-fiction prize". Archived from the original on 15 December 2007.
  13. ^ "The Rathbones Folio Prize | the Rathbones Folio Prize".

External links[edit]