Jason Goodwin is a British writer and historian. He studied Byzantine history at Cambridge University. Following the success of The Gunpowder Gardens or, A Time For Tea: Travels in China and India in Search of Tea, he walked from Poland to Istanbul, Turkey. His account of the journey, On Foot to the Golden Horn, won the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize in 1993.
Subsequently he wrote Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire, which was featured on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. Later, he became popular as the author of a series of historical mystery novels beginning with The Janissary Tree, which pivot on a Turkish eunuch detective, Yashim, who lives and works in 19th century Istanbul. The Janissary Tree won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2007 and novels in the series have been translated into over 40 languages.
The third Yashim novel, The Bellini Card, takes the action to Venice. The fourth, An Evil Eye, centering on the Ottoman sultan's harem, came out in Spring 2011 and a further Istanbul adventure, provisionally entitled "The Latin Reader", is to be published in 2013. He blogs at his website.
Goodwin is the son of Jocasta Innes and New Age writer John Michell. However, his parents separated before he was born. Goodwin did not meet his birth father until 1992, at the age of 28, and was raised by his mother's first husband, the film producer Richard B. Goodwin. His half-sister is the British tv producer and novelist Daisy Goodwin. He is married with four children.