About Ronald Wright

Ronald Wright AuthorNovelist, historian, and essayist Ronald Wright is the award-winning author of ten books of fiction and nonfiction published in 18 languages and more than 40 countries. Much of his work explores relationships between past and present, people and power, other cultures and the west.

A Short History of Progress, which examines humankind’s increasingly precarious experiment with civilization, was the best-selling book in the 50-year history of the prestigious CBC Massey Lectures, winning the Libris Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year.  Martin Scorsese’s Surviving Progress, a documentary film based on the book, premiered in fall 2011. A Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of A Short History of Progress was issued in 2019 with a new introduction and update by the author.

Wright’s dystopian first novel A Scientific Romance  won Britain’s David Higham Prize for Fiction and was chosen a book of the year by the New York Times, the Sunday Times, the Mail on Sunday, and the Globe & Mail. His other bestsellers include Time Among the Maya and Stolen Continents, a history of the Americas since Columbus which was chosen a book of the year by the Independent and the Sunday Times.

Born in England to Canadian and British parents, Wright read archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University and has been awarded two honorary doctorates. He spent many years in Mexico and South America, Africa, and the South Seas on book research, archaeological work, and recording indigenous music. While in Peru he also wrote Lonely Planet’s first Quechua (Inca) phrasebook.

Wright contributes to the Times Literary Supplement and other publications. His latest book is The Gold Eaters, a novel set during the Spanish invasion of the Inca Empire in the 1500s.  Three of his early books are also available in Penguin Modern Classics and in new editions by Eland, with introductions by Jan Morris, Alberto Manguel, and Pico Iyer, as well as new afterwords by the author.

“Ronald Wright is an historical philosopher with a profound understanding of other cultures.” –Jan Morris

“I am an old admirer of Ronald Wright’s work. He writes brilliantly and with a very uncommon level of empathy and sensitivity…No one is better at showing how the past infuses, and, in most cases, continues to blight the present.” –Larry McMurtry