Her first book Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore has been translated into ten languages. Her second, The Hemlock Cup, Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Writer’s Guild Award.
She has written and presented numerous documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, PBS, The History Channel, National Geographic and ITV. Her programmes have now been seen by over 150 million worldwide. In 2010, she was awarded the Naomi Sargent Education Prize for Broadcast Excellence and was given a Special Award for services to Hellenic Culture and Heritage.
In 2011 she was Chair of the Orange Prize for Fiction and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Historical Association and of Cardiff University. She was awarded the Norton Medlicott Award for services to History in 2012. In 2013 she was given an Honorary Doctorate by York University in recognition of her ‘outstanding’ contribution to history and to its international promotion.
Bettany is a long-standing patron and supporter of educational and campaigning charities The Iris Project, which promotes and teaches Latin, Greek in state schools. She is an honorary, founding patron of Classics For All, a national campaign to get classical languages and the study of classical civilisations back into state schools and an advisor to the Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation which promotes large-scale collaborative projects between East and West.
She co-produced a 7 part global documentary series about the shared roots of Eastern and Western culture which was premiered at UNESCO in 2013. This year she will be making a 10-part series on the history of ideas for the BBC.