Sarah Bakewell is a historical biographer and writer on the history of ideas. Her first book, The Smart (Chatto 2001, Vintage 2002), related the story of an infamous forgery trial in eighteenth-century London. Her second, The English Dane (Chatto 2005, Vintage 2006), was a biography of Jorgen Jorgenson, a flamboyant Danish adventurer who led a revolution in Iceland in 1809. He was deposed by the British and recruited by them as a spy, but he ended up being transported as a convict to Tasmania – a colony which, in one of the many ironic twists of his life, he had helped to found twenty-three years earlier.
Her latest work, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (2010) is an unorthodox biography of the sixteenth-century philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography in the U.S. and the Duff Cooper Prize for Non-Fiction in the U.K., and was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award.
Sarah Bakewell was born in Bournemouth on the English south coast, but she spent her childhood travelling the hippy trail with her parents and grew up mostly in Australia. She now lives in London and the Marche region of Italy, with her partner, two cats, and ten thousand woodworms, millipedes and scorpions. When not writing, she works as a freelance rare-books cataloguer and teaches courses in creative non-fiction.
Agent Name: Zoë Waldie