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Dr Ruth Scurr FRSL (born 1971, London)[citation needed] is a British writer, historian and literary critic. She is a Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.[1] She was educated at St Bernard's Convent, Slough; Oxford University, Cambridge University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. She won a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2000.

Her first book, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution (Chatto & Windus, 2006; Metropolitan Books, 2006) won the Franco-British Society Literary Prize (2006), was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize (2006), long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize (2007) and was listed among the 100 Best Books of the Decade in The Times in 2009.[2] It has been translated into five languages.

Her second book, John Aubrey: My own Life (Chatto & Windus, 2015; New York Review of Books, 2016) was shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Biography Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. It was chosen as a 2015 Book of the Year in fifteen newspapers and magazines, including: the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Sunday Express, the Guardian, the Spectator and the New Statesman. It was chosen as a 2016 Book of the Year by Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Review and the Washington Post.

Scurr began reviewing regularly for The Times and The Times Literary Supplement in 1997.[3] Since then she has also written for The Daily Telegraph,[4] The Observer, New Statesman,[5] The London Review of Books,[6] The New York Review of Books, The Nation,[7] The New York Observer, The Guardian [8] and The Wall Street Journal.[9] She has been a consultant editor at The Times Literary Supplement since 2015.

She was a judge on the Man Booker Prize panel in 2007, and the Samuel Johnson Prize panel in 2014.[10][11][12] She is a member of the Folio Prize Academy.[13]

Scurr is Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences for Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where she has been a Fellow since 2006. Her research interests include: 17th and 18th century history of ideas; biographical, autobiographical and life writing; the British and French Enlightenments; the French Revolution; Revolutionary Memoir; early Feminist Political Thought; and contemporary fiction in English.

She was married to the political theorist John Dunn[citation needed] between 1997 and 2013. She has two daughters and a stepson.




  • Scurr, Ruth (2006). Fatal purity : Robespierre and the French Revolution. London: Chatto & Windus.
  • — (2015). John Aubrey : my own life. London: Chatto & Windus.

Dissertations, thesesEdit

  • Scurr, Ruth (2000). The social foundations of the modern republic : P.-L. Roederer's Cours d'organisation sociale (Ph.D.). University of Cambridge.

Critical studies and reviewsEdit

  • Anon. (April 11, 2015). "A man for all seasons". Books and Arts. The Economist. 415 (8933): 74–75. Review of John Aubrey.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit