Red Sky at Noon (Montefiore) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—June 27, 1965
Where—London, England, UK
Education—B.A., Ph.D., Cambridge University
Awards—(see below)
Currently—lives in London, England

Simon Jonathan Sebag Montefiore is a British historian, television presenter, and award-winning author of popular history books and novels.

Early life
Montefiore, born in London is descended from a line of wealthy Sephardi Jews, originating from Morocco and Italy, who became diplomats and bankers throughout Europe. At the start of the 19th century, Simon's great-great-uncle, Sir Moses Montefiore, was an international financier who worked with the Rothschild family and who became a noted philanthropist.

His mother, Phyllis April Jaffe, comes from a Lithuanian Jewish family of scholars. Fleeing the Russian Empire in the early 20th century, her parents had bought tickets for New York City but were somebow cheated and, instead of the U.S., were dropped off in Ireland. Because of the Limerick boycott against Jews in 1904, his grandfather Henry Jaffe left the country and moved to Newcastle, England.

Simon Montefiore was educated at Ludgrove School and Harrow School. He read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he received his Ph.D. He won an Exhibition to Caius College. Early on, he worked as a banker, then a foreign affairs journalist and war correspondent covering the fall of the Soviet Union.

Montefiore published his debut novel King's Parade in 1991. The Spectator called it "embarrassing" and "extremely silly." Eventually, however, he went on to write his widely acclaimed Moscow Trilogy: Sashenka (2008), One Night in Winter (2013), which won the Political Novel of the Year Prize, and Red Sky at Noon (2018).

His nonfiction work includes several well regarded histories.

  • Catherine the Great & Potemkin (2001) was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, and the Marsh Biography Award.
  • Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (2003) won History Book of the Year at the 2004 British Book Awards.
  • Young Stalin (2007) won the LA Times Book Prize for Best Biography, the Costa Book Award, the Bruno Kreisky Award for Political Literature, Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique, and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
  • Jerusalem: The Biography (2011) was a number one non-fiction Sunday Times bestseller and won The Book of the Year Prize from the Jewish Book Council.
  • His latest history is The Romanovs, 1613–1918 (2016).

Montefiore is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor of Humanities at the University of Buckingham. He lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retreived 1/20/2018.)

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