Fall of Giants (Follett) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—June 5, 1949
Where—Cardiff, Wales, UK
Education—B.A., University College, London
Awards—(see below)
Currently—lives in Hertfordshire, England

Kenneth Martin Follett is a Welsh author of thrillers and historical novels who has sold more than 150 million copies of his works. Many of his books have reached number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, including Edge of Eternity, Fall of Giants, A Dangerous Fortune, The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, Triple, Winter of the World, and World Without End.

Early years
Follett was born in Cardiff, Wales, the first child of four children, to Martin Follett, a tax inspector, and Lavinia (Veenie) Follett. Barred from watching films and television by his Plymouth Brethren parents, he developed an early interest in reading but remained an indifferent student until he entered his teens. His family moved to London when he was ten years old, and he began applying himself to his studies at Harrow Weald Grammar School and Poole Technical College.

He won admission in 1967 to University College London, where he studied philosophy and became involved in center-left politics. He married his wife Mary in 1968, and their son was born in the same year. After graduating in the autumn of 1970, Follett took a three-month post-graduate course in journalism, working as a trainee reporter in Cardiff on the South Wales Echo.  A daughter was born in 1973.

After three years in Cardiff, Follett returned to London as a general-assignment reporter for the Evening News. He eventually left journalism for publishing, having found it unchallenging, and by the late 1970s became deputy managing director of the small London publisher Everest Books.

During that time, Follett began writing fiction as a hobby during evenings and weekends. Later, he said he began writing books when he needed extra money to fix his car, and the publisher's advance a fellow journalist had been paid for a thriller was the sum required for the repairs. Success came gradually at first, but the 1978 publication of Eye of the Needle, became an international bestseller and sold over 10 million copies, earning Follett wealth and international fame.

Each of Follett's subsequent novels, some 30, has become a best-seller, ranking high on the New York Times Best Seller list. The first five best sellers were fictional spy thrillers. Another bestseller, On Wings of Eagles (1983), is a true story based on the rescue of two of Ross Perot's employees from Iran during the 1979 revolution.

Kingsbridge series
For the most part, Follett continued writing spy thrillers, interspersed with historical novels. But he usually returned to espionage. Then in 1989, Follett surprised his readers with his first non-spy thriller, The Pillars of the Earth (1989), a novel about building a cathedral in a small English village during the Anarchy in the 12th century.

Pillars was wildly successful, received positive reviews, and stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 18 weeks. All told, (internationally and domestically), it has sold 26 million copies and even inspired a 2017 computer game by Daedalic Entertainment of Germany.

Two sequels followed a number of years later — in 2007 and 2017. World Without End (2007) returns to Kingsbridge 200 years after Pillars and focuses on lives devastated by the Black Death. A Column of Fire (2017), a romance and novel of political intrigue, is set in the mid-16th century — a time when Queen Elizabeth finds herself beset by plots to dethrone her.

Century trilogy
Follett initiated his Century trilogy in 2010. The series traces five interrelated families — American, German, Russian, English and Welsh — as they move through world-shaking events, beginning with World War I and the Russian Revolution, up through the rise of the Third Reich and World War II, and into the Cold War era and civil-rights movements.

A number of Follett's novels have been made into movies and TV mini series. Eye of the Needle was made into an acclaimed film, starring Donald Sutherland. Seven novels have been adapted as mini-series: The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, On Wings of Eagles, The Third Twin (rights were sold for a then-record price of $1,400,000), The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and A Dangerous Fortune.

Follett also had a cameo role as the valet in The Third Twin and later as a merchant in The Pillars of the Earth.

2013 - Grand Master at the Edgar Awards (New York)
2012 - Que Leer Prize-Best Translation (Spain) - Winter of the World
2010 - Libri Golden Book Award-Best Fiction (Hungary) - Fall of Giants
2010 - Grand Master,  Thrillerfest (New York)
2008 - Honorary Doctor of Literature - University of Exeter
2007 - Honorary Doctor of Literature - University of Glamorgan
2007 - Honorary Doctor of Literature - Saginaw Valley State University
2003 - Corine Literature Prize (Bavaria) - Jackdaws
1999 - Premio Bancarella Literary Prize (Italy) - Hammer of Eden
1979 - Edgar Award-Best Novel - Eye of the Needle

Personal life
During the late 1970s, Follett became involved in the activities of Britain's Labour Party when he met the former Barbara Broer, a Labour Party official. Broer became his second wife in 1984.

Follett, an amateur musician, plays bass guitar for Damn Right I Got the Blues. He occasionally plays a bass balalaika with the folk group Clog Iron. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 10/4/2017.)

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