• France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Brazil

The early years…

Ken Follett was born in Cardiff, Wales, on the 5th of June, 1949. His father was a tax inspector, and his mother a houswife. Like many young couples bringing up a family in post-war Britain, Martin Follett and his wife Veenie were not able to provide their children with many luxuries. From a very early age, Ken was creating imaginary worlds for himself.

“My mother told me stories all the time. I don’t know whether I inherited it from her or just acquired it under her influence, but by the time I was seven years old I was an imaginative child.”

Ken was also reading from a very young age. His parents were devout born-again Christians and would not allow their children to watch television or go to the cinema, and Ken found his escape in books. “With no TV or radio, and no Saturday morning pictures which all the other kids used to go to, reading was my entertainment. I didn’t have many books of my own and I’ve always been grateful for the public library. Without free books I would not have become a voracious reader, and if you are not a reader you are not a writer.”

In particular, Enid Blyton (1897 – 1968), prolific author of the ‘Five Find-outers’ mystery series and the ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ adventure series, inspired him.

Ken’s family moved from Cardiff to London when he was ten years old, and since then he has spent most of his life in London, he speaks with a North London, rather than a Cardiff accent; “I think of myself as a Welsh Londoner”.

At school, Ken was bored and badly behaved until the age of 13, but he admits that, “when I got interested in girls, school suddenly became much more fun”. Around the same time he began to study seriously, and by revising harder than any of his classmates, he started to come top of the class, and continued to do well into university.

Detailed biography

Next > Student life…

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Acrobat For a more detailed, printable biography in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, in Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian or Spanish, please see the media information page.
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