Ursula Buchan was brought up in a large family in rural Oxfordshire and went to school in Oxford, before studying modern history at Cambridge University, and then horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She is a prize-winning journalist and book author, having for many years written principally on gardening for British newspapers and magazines, notably The Spectator, The Observer and The Daily Telegraph. She has published eighteen books. These days she concentrates more on historical subjects and her latest book, Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan, was published by Bloomsbury in April 2019. She is a daughter of John Buchan’s second son, William, and has been able to draw on previously undiscovered family papers for the writing of the book. It has received considerable critical acclaim: the Sunday Times called it ‘outstanding’, History Today ‘superb’ and ‘hugely enjoyable and rewarding’, and the Literary Review ‘thoroughly researched and elegantly written’.
Ursula lives with her husband, Charlie Wide, in north-east Northamptonshire. They have two grown-up children, four grandchildren and two cocker spaniels. Ursula’s recreations include choral singing, listening to music, reading, fell walking and gardening.