Dr. Amanda Foreman is the author of the prize-winning best sellers, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided. She has held teaching and research fellowships at NYU, Queen Mary University of London, and The University of Liverpool.
Amanda was born in London, brought up in Los Angeles, and educated in England. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University in New York, and Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford. She received her doctorate in 18th Century British History from Oxford University in 1998.
After completing her DPhil at Oxford University, Foreman published her first book in 1998, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, which was based on her doctoral thesis. It won the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Best Biography and was shortlisted for the 1998 Guardian First Book Award. It inspired a television documentary, a radio play starring Dame Judi Dench; and the Oscar-winning film, ‘The Duchess’, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.
In 2011 Foreman published A World on Fire, a history of Anglo-American relations during the Civil War. It was the winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award for Civil War History, runner-up for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman History Prize, and a finalist for the Lincoln Prize, the Lionel Gelber Prize, the Jefferson Davis Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The book was named one of the “Ten Best Books of 2011” by The New York Times, and dozens of other publications including The New Yorker and The Economist. She has contributed essays to numerous books including City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts, What Might have Been, Reconfiguring the Union: Civil War Transformations, Gender in Eighteenth-Century England, and The New York Times’ Disunion.
She has served as a judge on almost every major literary prize, including the Booker Prize and the National Book Award. In 2016, she was asked to serve for a second time on the Booker Prize, this time as the chair.
Foreman also writes for radio, television, and print media. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 2, 3, and 4, BBC 2, Channel 4, and Nat-Geo in the USA. Foreman has been a columnist for The Sunday Times and the Smithsonian Magazine. Currently, she is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. She is also a CBS News royal contributor. Her BBC documentary series, ‘The Ascent of Woman’, has been seen in over 120 countries.
In 2019 Foreman created “Queen Victoria’s Palace”, a visual and physical recreation of the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace, for the annual summer opening. She was the first ever outside curator, and the show enjoyed the second-highest attendance since 1993. Foreman co-wrote Inside Queen Victoria’s Buckingham Palace to accompany the exhibition.
Amanda co-founded House of SpeakEasy in 2013, a literary charity based in New York City that brings the literary arts into public schools, runs after-school enrichment programs, and brings books and pop-up book festivals to under-served communities. In 2022 alone, SpeakEasy’s BookTruck delivered over 15,000 free books to the Five Boroughs of New York City.
Amanda is the chair of the Feminist Institute. She sits on the Advisory Council for Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, and is a trustee of the Whiting Foundation. She is on the board of Americans For Oxford, International Friends of the London Library, and is on the executive board for the Society of American Historians. In 2016, Foreman received the St. George’s Society of New York’s Anglo-American Cultural Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the US-UK cultural world.
Her next book, ‘The World Made by Women: A New History of Humanity’, is scheduled to be published in 2024. Amanda lives in New York with her husband and five children.
Since taking up gardening, Amanda has become increasingly obsessed with all things horticultural. She is happy to discuss the finer points of pruning with anyone who’s interested. She is the daughter of Carl Foreman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and producer of many film classics including, The Bridge on the River Kwai, High Noon, Born Free, Young Winston and The Guns of Navarone.
Amanda divides her time between London and New York. She is married and has five teen children.