Spufford specializes in works of non-fiction. Among his books are I May Be Some Time, The Child That Books Built, and Backroom Boys. He has also edited two volumes of polar literature. His first book I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination won literary prizes including the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, Writers Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and the Somerset Maugham Award in 1997. He was also nominated for the Aventis Prize for Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin. Spufford studied English at Cambridge University. He was a Royal Literary Fund fellow at Anglia Ruskin University from 2005 to 2007, and since 2008 has taught at Goldsmiths College in London on the MA in Creative and Life Writing there.