Ken Follett (born June 5, 1949) is a British author of thrillers and historical novels.
Follett, the son of Martin and Veenie Follett, was born in Cardiff, Wales and lived there until the family moved to London ten years later. Barred from watching movies and television by his devoutly Christian parents, he developed an early interest in reading but remained an indifferent student until he entered his teens. Applying himself to his studies, he won admission in 1967 to University College London, where he studied philosophy and became involved in leftist politics. He married his first wife, Mary, in 1968.
After graduation, in the fall of 1970 Follett took a three-month post-graduate course in journalism and went to work as a trainee reporter in Cardiff on the South Wales Echo. After three years in Cardiff, he returned to London as a general-assignment reporter for the Evening Standard. Finding the work unchallenging, he eventually left journalism for publishing and became, by the late 1970s, deputy managing director of Everest Books. He also began writing fiction on evenings and weekends as a hobby. Success came gradually at first but the publication of Eye of the Needle in 1978 made him both wealthy and internationally famous. Each of Follett’s subsequent novels has also become a best-seller, and a number have been made adapted for the screen.
Follett became involved, during the late 1970s, in the activities of Britain’s Labour Party. In the course of his political activities, he met the former Barbara Broer, a Labour official, who became his second wife in 1982. She was elected a Member of Parliament in 1997, representing Stevenage, and was re-elected in 2001. Follett himself remains a prominent Labour supporter and fundraiser.