Stuart Blackburn

I was born and educated in the US, getting my PhD in South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley in 1980.  After teaching at various universities in America and Europe, I moved to London with my wife for a job at SOAS, University of London in the 1990s.  That led me to years of fieldwork on tribal communities in northeast India. In 2010, I retired and we moved again, this time to Brighton, where we now live. 

I sometimes say I'm a 'recovering academic'.  After many years of field research and monograph writing about storytelling traditions in India, I wanted to write my own stories but shifting from fact to fiction wasn't as easy as I thought.  That's what I like about writing novels-- like any craft, you can get a little better at it every day.

Several of my novels have been set in India, although more recently I find I want to explore an historical period in a North American context. My lastest book, 'Luck of the Draw, is partly based on my experiences during the Vietnam War era, the anger at the senseless killing and the fear of being drafted to fight and possibly die in it.  Currently, I am working on a story set during another wartime.  It's December 1941 in San Francisco.  I have the characters but not the plot yet.  That's another of the joys of writing fiction.  You never quite know where your characters are going to take you.  And, hopefully, readers have the same pleasure.

Stuart Blackburn's Books

ISBN: 9781915352859


All the Way to the Sea

28 Feb 2023

Can a love born in war survive the peace? A war-time romance, long-held secrets and a suspicious death disturb life in a quiet corner of rural America. And when the secrets are revealed, the pull of the past proves that belonging is more than just where one lives.

When her American husband is found dead in a seemingly accidental drowning, Caroline writes home and asks her young cousin Elizabeth to join her. After Elizabeth arrives, Caroline is forced to reveal a secret she has held ever since she first met her husband in Devon during the war, nineteen years ago.

Elizabeth’s arrival gives Caroline new hope. However, as suspicions grow around her husband’s death, Caroline realises she can never fully move on from her past. Torn between love and duty, she must make a terrible decision.


After a distinguished academic career, Stuart Blackburn began writing novels and won the M.M. Bennetts award for historical fiction with Into the Hidden Valley (2016). All the Way to the Sea is his fifth novel. He lives with his wife on the south coast of England.

ISBN: 9781835740996


Luck of the Draw

28 Jan 2025

It’s 1969.

Stephen's plans to attend Harvard Law School are derailed by the Vietnam War draft lottery. Faced with the prospect of being sent to fight in Southeast Asia, he evades military service by fleeing to California.

Arrested at an anti-war protest, Stephen flees again, this time to a commune in northern California. There, he falls in love with Sharon, the leader of an underground radical group. Under Sharon’s influence, Stephen plants a bomb that accidentally claims a life. Escaping from the FBI, he heads to Canada with his newborn daughter, Rosie, after Sharon decides to stay behind. As Rosie grows up, Stephen conceals the truth about their past. Many years later, Rosie uncovers the truth and sets out to find her mother. With the FBI closing in, Rosie loses her father and is left to navigate an uncertain future.

Luck of the Draw is a thriller laced with radical politics, divided loyalties, and personal tragedies. Ultimately, it is a story of love, loss, and survival.


After a distinguished academic career, Stuart Blackburn began writing novels and won the MM Bennetts prize for historical fiction with Into the Hidden Valley (2016). Luck of the Draw, his sixth novel, draws on his personal experiences during the Vietnam War era. Born and educated in America, he now lives with his wife on the south coast of England.