Edward Rutherfurd

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Edward Rutherfurd
Salisbury, England
GenreHistorical novels
Notable works Sarum

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.

A pen name is a pseudonym adopted by an author and printed on the title page or by-line of their works in place of their real name. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise the author's gender, to distance the author from their other works, to protect the author from retribution for their writings, to combine more than one author into a single author, or for any of a number of reasons related to the marketing or aesthetic presentation of the work. The author's name may be known only to the publisher or may come to be common knowledge.

Salisbury Cathedral city in Wiltshire, England

Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of 40,302, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne. The city is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Southampton and 30 miles (48 km) from Bath.

Debut novel first published by an author

A debut novel is the first novel a novelist publishes. Debut novels are often the author's first opportunity to make an impact on the publishing industry, and thus the success or failure of a debut novel can affect the ability of the author to publish in the future. First-time novelists without a previous published reputation, such as publication in nonfiction, magazines, or literary journals, typically struggle to find a publisher.



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]

University of Cambridge university in Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The academic standards, history, influence and wealth of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

<i>Sarum</i> (novel) book by Edward Rutherfurd

Sarum is a work of historical fiction by Edward Rutherfurd, first published in 1987. It tells the story of England through the tales of several families in and around the English city of Salisbury, the writer's hometown, from prehistoric times to 1985.

Stonehenge Neolithic henge monument in Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

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 .

<i>Russka</i> (novel) book by Edward Rutherfurd

Russka is a historical novel by Edward Rutherfurd, published in 1991 by Crown Publishers. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller.

<i>London</i> (novel) novel by Edward Rutherfurd

London is a historical novel by Edward Rutherfurd published in 1997, which charts the history of London from 54 B.C. to 1997. The novel begins with the birth of the River Thames and moves to 54 B.C., detailing the life of Segovax, a curious character with slightly webbed hands and a flash of white hair. Seqovax becomes the ancestor of the Ducket and Dogget families, prominent fictional families woven into the novel.

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]

Dublin Capital city of Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it lies within the province of Leinster. It is bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of the Wicklow Mountains range. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region as of 2016 was 1,347,359. The population of the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806 per the 2016 census.

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]

Zaragoza Place in Aragon, Spain

Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It lies by the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, roughly in the center of both Aragon and the Ebro basin.


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.

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  1. 1 2 Pimentel, Ben. "Sloan Graduates Take the Road Less Traveled". Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "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.