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Adam Foulds

Foulds at the PalFest 2010 in Palestine
Foulds at the PalFest 2010 in Palestine
Born Adam Samuel James Foulds
(1974-10-08) 8 October 1974 (age 48)
London, United Kingdom
Occupation poet, novelist
Language English
Nationality British
Education Master's degree
Alma mater University of East Anglia
Years active 2007–present
Spouse Charla Jones

Adam Samuel James Foulds FRSL (/ˈfldz/ FOHLDZ; born 8 October 1974) is a British novelist and poet.


Foulds was educated at Bancroft's School, read English at St Catherine's College, Oxford under Craig Raine, and graduated with an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in 2001.

In 2007, Foulds published his first book, The Truth About These Strange Times. The novel, which is set in the present day, is concerned in part with the World Memory Championships.

In 2008, Foulds published a substantial narrative poem entitled The Broken Word, described by the critic Peter Kemp as a "verse novella". It is a fictional version of some events during the Mau Mau Uprising. Writing in The Guardian, David Wheatley suggested that "The Broken Word is a moving and pitiless depiction of the world as it is rather than as we might like it to be, and the terrible things we do to defend our place in it".

In 2009, his novel The Quickening Maze was published. Recommending the work in a 'books of the year' survey, novelist Julian Barnes declared: 'Having last year greatly admired Adam Foulds's long poem "The Broken Word", I uncharitably wondered whether his novel The Quickening Maze (Cape) might allow me to tacitly advise him to stick to verse. Some hope: this story of the Victorian lunatic asylum where the poet John Clare and Tennyson's brother Septimus were incarcerated is the real thing. It's not a "poetic novel" either, but a novelistic novel, rich in its understanding and representation of the mad, the sane, and that large overlapping category in between'.

On 7 January 2010, he was published on the Guardian Website's "Over by Over" (OBO) coverage of day five of the Third Test of the South Africa v England series at Newlands, Cape Town. Foulds's published email corrected the OBO writer, Andy Bull, who, in the 77th over, posted lines by Donne in reference to Ian Ronald Bell in verse form: "No doubt I won't be the first pedant to let you know that the Donne you quote is in fact from a prose meditation. The experiment in retrofitting twentieth century free verse technique to it is interesting but the line breaks shouldn't really be there."

In 2013 he was included in the Granta list of 20 best young writers,.

He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada after marrying Canadian photographer Charla Jones.

Awards and honours

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
2007 The Truth About These Strange Times Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award (SoA) Won
Betty Trask Award (SoA) Won
2008 The Broken Word John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (Booktrust) Shortlisted
Costa Book Awards (Costa Coffee) Poetry Won
2009 Somerset Maugham Award (SoA) Won
Unknown Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award (SoA) Shortlisted
The Quickening Maze Encore Award (SoA) Won
Booker Prize (Man Group) Fiction Shortlisted
2010 Walter Scott Prize (Borders Book Festival) Historical fiction Shortlisted
Himself Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Honored
2011 The Quickening Maze European Union Prize (CPEU) Literature - United Kingdom Won
2013 Unknown Granta Best of Young British Novelists (Granta) Won
2015 In the Wolf's Mouth Walter Scott Prize (Borders Book Festival) Historical fiction Shortlisted
2019 Dream Sequence Giller Prize Longlisted
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