Authors on the platform: star line-up at London Festival of Sports Writing 2015

A host of authors will be discussing their books at the London Festival of Sports Writing, which takes place at Lord's Cricket Ground from Thursday (November 12) to Sunday this week.

This is the third year of this new festival dedicated to the best in sports writing, jointly hosted by David Luxton Associates and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with the support of media partner London Evening Standard.

The four-day celebration kicks off on Thursday with cricket, football and tennis on the agenda for the opening day.

Among the authors appearing will be Richard Tomlinson, author of Amazing Grace: The Man Who was W.G., William Skidelsky, author of Federer and Me: A Story of Obsession.
Tomlinson will sit down with Lawrence Booth, editor of Wisden, and Jonathan Rice, who compiled Wisden on Grace, to discuss the legacy of the great W. G. on the 100th anniversary of his death in the company of Richard Whitehead, editor of The Times on the Ashes.

Skidelsky will talk about his enthusiasm for tennis giant Roger Federer with Kevin Mitchell, tennis and boxing correspondent of the Guardian and Observer and author of Break Point: The Inside Story of Modern Tennis, with Simon Briggs of the Daily Telegraph chairing the debate.

Later in the afternoon, former England cricketer Steve James (author of The Art of Centuries) and Simon Hughes, ex-player turned TV analyst whose latest book is entitled Who Wants to be a Batsman?, sit down with Times cricket correspondent and former Test captain Mike Atherton to talk about what it takes to make hundreds in first-class cricket.

The focus then turns to football as the Evening Standard's Patrick Barclay joins veteran award-winning journalist James Lawton in a debate with its focus on the great Manchester City team assembled by Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison in the late 1960s.  They are joined on stage by two members of that team, defender Tommy Booth and goalkeeper Joe Corrigan, both of whom feature in Lawton's book Forever Boys: The Days of Citzens and Heroes.  Barclay, a writer with the distinction of having been football correspondent for three of England's quality newspapers -- The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The Times -- as well as The Observer among the quality Sundays, is the author among other books of Mourinho: Further Anatomy of a Winner.

Thursday's programme concludes with Observer journalist Amy Lawrence hosting a discussion about Germany's return to dominance on the world stage with Raphael Honigstein, author of Das Reboot: How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World, and Ronald Reng, whose latest book is Matchdays: The Hidden Story of the Bundesliga.  Lawrence herself wrote a fine book about Arsenal entitled Invincible: Inside Arsenal's Unbeaten 2003-2004 Season.

On Friday's Agenda

Friday's order of play begins with Phil Tufnell, his autobiography Where Am I? fresh of the presses, in conversation with cricket enthusiast and journalist Emma John, deputy editor of the Observer magazine, about his escapades on and off the field.
Next is more humour with comedian and author David Baddiel on stage with John O'Farrell, author and comedy scriptwriter, discussing a broad sweep of topics including football, fiction, fantasy and FIFA, all of which feature in O'Farrell's new comic novel, There's Only Two David Beckhams.

After that comes a switch to the motor racing track with former Formula One driver Mark Webber, author of Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey, joins Maurice Hamilton, award winning journalist and author of the recently published Grand Prix Circuits, in a discussion chaired by The Guardian’s Richard Williams, talking about Formula One’s most intriguing battles and circuits.

Friday's programme concludes with Spanish author, journalist and broadcaster Guillem Balague talking about the subject of his latest book, Cristiano Ronaldo, along with performance psychologist Bill Beswick, whose new book One Goal: The Mindset of Winning Soccer Teams is out this month, and journalist Sid Lowe, whose bestselling book Fear and Loathing in La Liga was shortlisted for the Football Book of the Year at the 2014 British Sports Book Awards.

Saturday's highlights

Authors in the spotlight on Saturday's programme include Michael Calvin (author of The Nowhere Men & Living on the Volcano), Patrick Barclay (author of Mourinho: Anatomy of a Winner and The Life and Times of Herbert Chapman) and John Cross (author of Arsene Wenger: The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger), as they join award-winning journalist Henry Winter to try to provide some answers on how to survive as a football manager.

Also cyclist and reformed doper David Millar reveals what life is really like in the peloton with journalist Ned Boulting.  Millar has recently followed up his successful biography Racing Through the Dark with The Racer, a blow by blow account of his final season as a professional.  Ned Boulting is the author of a number of cycling books including On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul.
Earlier in the day, there are discussion events about the paucity of female sports journalists working in the British media and a live edition of the Tottenham Hotspur podcast The Spurs Show, featuring presenter Mike Leigh, club legends Gary Mabbutt and Terry Gibson, sportswriter and Spurs fan Julie Welch, and The Guardian's parliamentary sketch writer and ESPN Spurs blogger John Crace.

Also former rugby stars Ben Cohen and Michael Lynagh will join journalist and author Brendan Gallagher in looking back at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Sunday menu

On Sunday's agenda is The Cycling Podcast Live, involving the three hosts of the popular show -- Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe -- in a review of the 2015 cycling season, after which Moore switches his attention to athletics.

After their sell-out appearance at the Edinburgh Book Festival, Moore, author of The Bolt Supremacy: Inside Jamaica's Sprint Factory, discusses with Ed Caesar, author of Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon,  what it takes to become a world sprint and marathon champion, with Sky Sports expert Orla Chennaoui in the chair.

Later, cricket journalist Scyld Berry, cricket correspondent of the Telegraph titles and author of Cricket: The Game of Life meets former England captain Mike Brearley, author of the seminal Art of Captaincy, and Ed Smith, the former player turned author and broadcaster, to explore the nature, meaning, and significance of cricket throughout the world and how the sport has remained so popular.

For more information and how to obtain tickets, visit



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