A new collection of soccer writing by the bestselling author of Fever Pitch.
After the phenomenal success of Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby tried to avoid writing about soccer, for fear that he'd be writing about it forever. But occasionally over the years he’s found it impossible to turn down a particularly enticing assignment or, in the case of the 2012-13 Premier League, just unable to resist writing about that most spectacular of seasons.
Fortunately for those who love great writing about soccer, all these fugitive pieces are collected in Fan Mail. You can follow the fortunes, as Hornby did, of a hopelessly out-of-their-depth Cambridge United in the old Second Division, discover why Perry Groves was an unlikely hero among Arsenal fans, enjoy Hornby trying to explain the World Cup to Americans, and share with him the pain of watching his national team.
Nick Hornby is the author of six internationally bestselling novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to be Good, A Long Way Down, Slam and Juliet, Naked) and several works of non-fiction including Fever Pitch, Songbook and Ten Years In The Tub, a collection of his 'Stuff I've Been Reading' columns from the Believer. His screenplay for the film An Education was nominated for an Academy Award. He lives in Highbury, north London.
Journalist and bestselling novelist Nick Hornby is best known for his portraits of dysfunctional Peter Pans -- clueless postmodern males in various stages of arrested development who discover, often to their chagrin, that growing up is a process involving far more than the passage of time. Dubbed the "maestro of the male confessional" by The New Yorker, Hornby is credited as the founder of the "lad lit " genre -- a peculiar honor, since he also seems to be its only truly successful practitioner!
However, to dismiss Hornby's writing as the testosterone-laced equivalent of "chick lit" is to seriously underestimate his talent. The New York Times Book Review put it this way: "Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent and emotionally generous all at once. He combines a skilled, intuitive appreciation for the rigors of comic structure with highly original insights about the way the enchantments of popular culture insinuate themselves into middle-class notions of romance." (As further proof of his standing in the literary community, a group of distinguished colleagues -- including Germaine Greer, Zadie Smith, and Doris Lessing -- honored Hornby with the 2003 London Award.)
After graduating from Cambridge, Hornby worked a succession of jobs (he taught school, gave language classes, and served as a host for Samsung executives visiting the U.K.) before becoming a journalist. He wrote a series of pop culture columns for the Independent and wrote about music, books, and sports for Esquire, The Sunday Times, Elle, and the Times Literary Supplement. Then, in 1992, Hornby published a hilarious sports memoir about his maniacal obsession with Britain's Arsenal Football Club. A huge bestseller, Fever Pitch won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and helped to give soccer a cachet far beyond its formerly "blokey" appeal. His debut novel, High Fidelity, appeared in 1995. Teeming with hip music and pop culture references, this story of a thirty-something record store owner lamenting his failed romantic relationships struck a responsive chord with readers on both sides of the Pond, paving the way for his bestselling 1998 follow-up, About a Boy.
Critical praise and literary honors have followed Hornby throughout his career: His 2001 novel How to Be Good won the WH Smith Fiction Award and was nominated for a Booker Prize; A Long Way Down (2005) was shortlisted for both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. He is the author of a bestselling novel for young adults (Slam), and his nonfiction essays have been collected into several anthologies, including The Polysyllabic Spree, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, and Songbook (published in the UK as 31 Songs). He also serves as a pop music critic for The New Yorker.
Good To Know
Hollywood loves Hornby!
High Fidelity was filmed in 2000 with John Cusack.
Hugh Grant starred in the 2002 film About a Boy.
Fever Pitch was filmed twice: The 1997 British version starred Colin Firth. In 2005, an Americanized remake (substituting the Boston Red Sox for the Arsenal Football Club ) was released starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.
Hornby has admitted that when he first began writing, voice was a problem. "Everything changed for me when I read Anne Tyler, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and Lorrie Moore, all in about '86-'87," he has said. " ... voice, tone, simplicity, humour, soul ... all of these things seemed to be missing from the contemporary English fiction I'd looked at, and I knew then what I wanted to do."
Hornby is the father of an autistic son, Danny. He is also a co-founder of TreeHouse, an English charity school for autistic children. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Speaking with the Angel, an anthology of stories he edited in 2002, was donated to TreeHouse.
Writer Zadie Smith has credited Hornby for "reintrocuding the English novel to its long-lost domestic roots."
Music is still paramount in Hornby's life. He has a longstanding relationship with the American rock group Marah and has collaborated with them in music/spoken word performances on several occasions.
Hornby writes a monthly column, "Stuff I've Been Reading," for The Believer , a literary magazine published by Dave Eggers's McSweeney's publishing house.