The bestselling Welsh author of The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, Triple, and World Without End, Ken Follett has sold more than 100 million copies of his historical and thriller novels. These same four novels by Follett have also been ranked number one on The New York Times bestsellers list.
Ken Follett was born in Cardiff, Wales on June 5, 1949. His Playmouth Brethren parents, Martin Follett and Lavinia Follett did not allow him to watch television and movies which shifted Ken’s interest towards reading from an early age. After moving to London, Ken studied at Harrow Weald Grammar School and Poole Technical College moving on to studying philosophy upon gaining admission to University College London in 1967. In 1995, Follett became a fellow of the college. He also became involved in centre-lift politics during his years at the University.
In 1968, Follett got married and had a son he named Emanuele, in the same year. Follett graduated in 1970 after which he enrolled in a 3 month post graduate journalism course which led to a job of trainee reporter at South Wales Echo in Cardiff. He spent three years at the job in Cardiff before returning to London to work for the Evening News as a general assignment reporter. However, Follett did not enjoy journalism and shifted interests towards publishing. He worked his way to becoming the deputy managing director of Everest Books, a small London publishing company.
During his time at the publishing company, Follett tried his own hands at writing, at first as a hobby, writing in the evenings or weekends. But later his writing became need based when he needed money for some repair work in his car. He began publishing his fictional works but did not gain much acknowledgement in the beginning. Follett was first recognized as an exceptional writer in 1978 after the publication of his novel, Eye of the Needle which brought him both wealth and international fame. The book also won Follet an Edgar Award for best novel in 1979. A number of Ken Follett’s books reached the number one spot on The New York Times bestsellers list while many have been adapted to screen.
Some more famous titles by Ken Follett include The Shakeout (1975), The Bear Raid (1976), The Mystery Hideout (1976), Paper Money (1977), Capricorn One (1978), Triple (1979), The Key to Rebecca (1980), On Wings of Eagles (1983), Lie Down with Lions (1986), Night Over Water (1991), The Third Twin (1996), Code to Zero (2000), Whiteout (2004), World Without End (2007) and Fall of Giants (2010). His next novel, Winter of the World is expected to be released in 2012.
Ken Follett has also been a prominent name in British politics since he began taking interest in the activities of the British Labour Party in late 1970s. His political activities led to his second marriage in 1984 with Barbara Broer who was a Labour official. In addition to being a popular Blairite, Follett has been involved in fundraising activities for the party. In 2010 he was the largest donor to Ed Balls’ campaign to become leader of the Labour Party.
Ken Follett currently resides in London where he continues to write bestselling novels.