Beau Riffenburgh is a biographer and historian of exploration. His book Nimrod (2004), the thrilling tale of Ernest Shackleton’s first Antarctic expedition, was described in the Wall Street Journal as ‘a compulsive page-turner’. His other books include the acclaimed The Myth of the Explorer (1993), a study of the relationship between explorers and the popular press in the 19th century, and Pinkerton’s Great Detective (2013), a biography of the famed American undercover agent James McParland. In 2008, Beau was awarded the William Mills prize — given for the best non-fiction book about the polar regions — for Encyclopedia of the Antarctic. His next book will examine a disastrous Arctic expedition funded by James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric owner of the New York Herald.
Under the pseudonym Simon Beaufort, Beau has also co-authored 10 novels with his wife, medieval mystery writer Susanna Gregory. Eight of these are about the Crusader knight Geoffrey Mappestone, but the most recent is a modern police procedural, The Murder House (2013). All told, he has written, edited, or contributed to more than 60 books.
A native Californian, Beau’s early career was as a sportswriter, editor and historian for the National Football League, for which he produced seven books and dozens of articles about American football. He then earned a PhD at the University of Cambridge, following which he lectured in that university’s history faculty and edited Polar Record, the world’s oldest journal of polar research. He now lives in the countryside of Carmarthenshire with his wife and five spoilt hens.