The secret of Ken Follett’s success

The bestselling British author published 10 novels before he hit the big time – now he is a publishing sensation. He tells Hephzibah Anderson how he did it.

“Somewhere deep inside me there’s a song-and-dance man,” says Ken Follett. “I wanted to write novels that millions of people would love.” But it wasn’t until Follett published his 11th novel, Eye of the Needle, in 1978 that he finally achieved commercial success.

Since then the Welsh writer has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times – and he has topped it with novels like Edge of Eternity and Fall of Giants. His unashamedly crowd-pleasing novels have been adapted many times as films and television series; The Pillars of the Earth has even been turned into a video game.

Speaking to BBC Culture’s Hephzibah Anderson on stage at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Ken Follett explains how he arrived at the winning formula that has brought him more than 150 million sales worldwide.

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