Ken Follet was born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales. In 1974, he left journalism to work for a book publisher. He found critical and commercial success with the spy thriller Eye of the Needle. Over the years, he has explored other genres, including nonfiction. He also tackled a variety of time periods, from medieval times to World War II to the Cold War to present-day.
Author Born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales. Ken Follett is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Eye of the Needle (1978), On Wings of Eagles (1983) and Whiteout (2004). Growing up in a strict, religious home, he was not allowed to watch television or even listen to the radio. To pass the time, his mother often told him stories, and he also became an avid reader.
At the age of 10, Follett and his family moved to London. He attended the University College in London, graduating in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy. Starting a career in journalism, he returned to Wales to work as a reporter for the South Wales Echo in his hometown. Follett later became a columnist for the London Evening News. In 1974, he left journalism to work for a book publisher.
At first, Follett wrote his novels under the pseudonym Symon Myles, including his first two books, The Big Needle (1974) and The Big Black (1974). He also used three other pseudonyms—Zachary Stone, Bernard L. Ross and Martin Martinsen—before finally putting his real name on The Mystery Hideout in 1976. Two years later, he found critical and commercial success with the spy thriller Eye of the Needle.
It sold more than 10 million copies and won the prestigious Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1979. Eye of the Needle was later made into a movie starring Donald Sutherland. He scored again with several more spy thrillers, including Triple (1979), The Man from St. Petersburg (1982) and Lie Down with Lions (1986).
Over the years, Follett has explored other genres, including nonfiction with On Wings of Eagles (1983). He also tackled a variety of time periods, from medieval times in The Pillars of the Earth (1989) to World War II in Jackdaws (2001) to the Cold War in Code to Zero (2000) to present-day in Whiteout (2004). His most recent book, World Without End (2007), is a sequel to his hugely popular The Pillars of the Earth.
Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England. He is currently married to Barbara Follett, a member of the British Parliament. He has a son and a daughter from his first marriage.
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