Richard Francis was born in Hampshire in 1945. He has published ten novels, including Taking Apart the Poco Poco and most recently The Old Spring, which has been awarded the prize for Best British Novel of 2010 by the People's Literature Publishing House of China in their Best Foreign Novels of the Twenty-First Century series. He read English at Cambridge, received a doctorate from Exeter University, and spent two years as a Research Fellow at Harvard. He also publishes non-fiction in the field of American biography and history, most recently Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and their Search for Utopia (2010). With Michael Schmidt he inaugurated the MA in Novel Writing at Manchester University (having taught American literature there for many years) and more recently was Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.