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Francis Spufford

Born in 1963 and the son of esteemed historians Margaret and Peter Spufford, Francis Spufford studied English Literature at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and earned a BA in 1985.

He has written many non-fiction books over the course of his 25-year career and published his debut novel, the Costa First Novel Award-winning Golden Hill, in 2016.

He lives just outside Cambridge and teaches writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London.



Francis Spufford Books

  • Golden Hill - Paperback - 9780571225200 - Francis Spufford
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    Winner of the Costa First Novel Award, Francis Spufford's debut fiction novel, Golden Hill, is a book that will transport you right back to New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, in 1746.

    A charming stranger from England arrives and has a compelling (yet suspicious) proposition for the counting house on Golden Hill Street - he wishes to cash and order for #1,000...

    With questions hanging over whether he can be trusted, the young man has the gift of the gab and decides to create a new life for himself in a place that is just starting to develop its unique character. But then he falls in love and enters a whole new world of trouble...
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    The Soviet Union was founded on a fairytale. It was built on 20th-century magic called 'the planned economy', which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that the penny-pinching lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late 1950s, the magic seemed to be working. "Red Plenty" is about that moment in history, and how it came, and how it went away; about the brief era when, under the rash leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union looked forward to a future of rich communists and envious capitalists, when Moscow would out-glitter Manhattan, every Lada would be better engineered than a Porsche and sputniks would lead the way to the stars. And it's about the scientists who did their genuinely brilliant best to make the dream come true, to give the tyranny its happy ending.
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    But it isn't an argument that Christianity is true - because how could anyone know that (or indeed its opposite)? It's an argument that Christianity is recognisable, drawing on the deep and deeply ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the bits of our lives advertising agencies prefer to ignore. It's a book for believers who are fed up with being patronised, for non-believers curious about how faith can possibly work in the twenty-first century, and for anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic, anti-imaginative and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now being made. Fresh, provoking and unhampered by niceness, this is the long-awaited riposte to the smug emissaries of New Atheism.
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    When Captain Scott died in 1912 on his way back from the South Pole, his story became a myth embedded in the national imagination. Everyone remembers the doomed Captain Oates's last words: 'I'm just going outside, and I may be some time.' Francis Spufford's celebrated and prize-winning history shows how Scott's death was the culmination of a national enchantment with vast empty spaces, the beauty of untrodden snow, and perilous journeys to the end of the earth.