Agent: Julian Alexander
Bettany Hughes is a cultural and social historian, writer and television presenter. Her first book, Helen of Troy, (Jonathan Cape, 2005) was published to great critical acclaim. It unpicks the facts and myths surrounding one of the most enigmatic figures of all time, and has been translated into ten languages. Bettany has written and presented numerous TV and radio documentaries in the UK and US including Athens: The Trouble With Democracy, Helen of Troy, The Moors, The Spartans and Seven Ages of Britain. She also writes for newspapers and magazines and is invited to lecture at universities throughout the world.
Bettany’s second book, The Hemlock Cup, (Jonathan Cape, 2010) is a biography of Socrates, a man whose teachings have shaped the very way we think. He philosophised neither in grand educational establishments nor the courts of kings but in the squares and public arenas of Golden Age Athens. For seventy years he was a vigorous citizen of one of the greatest capitals on earth, but then his beloved Athens turned on him, condemning him to death by poison. Socrates' pursuit of personal liberty is a vibrant story that Athens did not want us to hear, but which must be told.
In recognition of Bettany’s scholarship, The Hemlock Cup has been awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal for History. The book was also shortlisted for the 2011 Non Fiction Writer's Guild Award.
Bettany spent ten years researching and writing her latest book, Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities (Orion, 2017). This epic biography takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world's greatest cities. From the earliest settlement in 6000 BC to the present day, Bettany’s captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate and scholarly - narrative history at its finest.
Through ancient art, evocative myth, exciting archaeological revelations and philosophical explorations Venus and Aphrodite (W&N, 2019) explores why this immortal goddess endures through to the twenty-first century, and what her journey through time reveals about what matters to us as humans.