Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby (born 17 April 1957 in Redhill, Surrey, England) is an English novelist and essayist. He is best known for the novels High Fidelity, About a Boy and the football memoir Fever Pitch. In his work he frequently touches upon sports, music, and the aimless and obsessive personalities of his main characters.

Personal life
Hornby graduated from Cambridge University with a 2.2 in English Literature.[1] He taught English to foreign students and also worked as a journalist before turning to writing. In 1993 Hornby's son Danny was born with autism. His son's disorder led him to become a co-founder of TreeHouse, an organization to which he contributed much of the profits from Speaking with the Angel. In 1998 Hornby's marriage with Virginia Bovell collapsed and they later divorced. Hornby lives in Maidenhead, England.

[edit] Career
Hornby's first book, Fever Pitch, was published in 1992. It is an autobiographical story about his fanatical support of the Arsenal Football Club. As a result, Hornby won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. In 1997 the book was adapted for film in the UK and in 2005 an American remake was released featuring the Boston Red Sox. After this first publication, Hornby began to publish his articles in the Sunday Times, Time Out and the Times Literary Supplement, in addition to his music reviews for the New Yorker. His second book and first novel, High Fidelity, was published in 1995. The novel, about a neurotic record collector and his failed relationships, was adapted into a film in 2000 starring John Cusack and a Broadway musical in 2006.

His third novel, About a Boy, published in 1998, is about two "boys" -- Marcus, an awkward yet endearing adolescent from a single parent family, and the free floating, mid-30s Will Freeman who overcomes his own immaturity and self-centeredness through his growing relationship with Marcus. Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult starred in the 2002 movie version. In 1999 Hornby received the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The novel How to Be Good was published in 2001. The female protagonist in the novel explores contemporary morals, marriage and parenthood. It won the WH Smith Award for Fiction in 2002. A part of the money he earned with his next book Speaking with the Angel in 2002 was donated to TreeHouse, a charity for autistic children. He was editor of the book, which contained twelve short stories written by his friends. He also contributed to the collection with the story "NippleJesus."[2] In 2003 Hornby wrote a collection of essays on selected popular songs and the emotional resonance they carry, called Songbook (known in the UK as 31 Songs). Also in 2003, Hornby was awarded the London Award 2003, an award that was selected by fellow writers.[3]

Hornby has also written essays on various aspects of popular culture, and in particular he has become known for his writing on pop music and mix tape enthusiasts. He also began writing a book review column, "Stuff I've Been Reading," for the monthly magazine The Believer; several of these articles are collected in The Polysyllabic Spree (2004) and Housekeeping vs. The Dirt (2006).

Hornby's novel A Long Way Down was published in 2005. It was on the shortlist for the Whitbread Novel Award. Hornby has also edited two sports-related anthologies: My Favourite Year and The Picador Book of Sports Writing.

Hornby's newest book, entitled Slam, was released on October 16, 2007, and is his first novel for young adults. The protagonist of Slam is a 15-year-old skateboarder named Sam whose life changes drastically when his girlfriend gets pregnant.

It has also been rumoured that he has been writing a movie with Emma Thompson.

[edit] Adaptations

[edit] Film
Several of Hornby's books have made the jump from page to screen. Hornby wrote the screenplay for the first, a 1997 British adaptation of Fever Pitch, starring Colin Firth. It was followed in 2000 by High Fidelity, starring John Cusack; this adaptation was notable in that the action was shifted from London to Chicago. After this success, About a Boy was quickly picked up, and released in 2002, starring Hugh Grant. An Americanized Fever Pitch, in which Jimmy Fallon plays a hopelessly addicted Boston Red Sox fan who tries to reconcile his love of the game with that of his girlfriend (Drew Barrymore), was released in 2005. It appears likely that A Long Way Down will also be adapted; Johnny Depp purchased film rights to the book before it was published.

[edit] Stage
High Fidelity was also the basis for a 2006 musical, which shifted the action to Brooklyn; its book is by David Lindsay-Abaire, with lyrics by Amanda Green and music by Tom Kitt. The production ran for a month in Boston, then moved to Broadway, closing after 18 previews and 14 regular performances.

[edit] Music
The importance of music in Hornby's novels, and in his life, is evidenced by his long-standing and fruitful collaborations with the rock band Marah, fronted by Dave and Serge Bielanko. Hornby has even toured in the USA and Europe with the band, joining them on stage to read his own essays about particular moments and performers in his own musical history which have had a particular meaning for him. The band typically follows each of Hornby's essays, about subjects including Bob Marley, Rory Gallagher and The Clash, by playing a song by each of those artists.

Hornby and Marah (whose small but intensely dedicated band of fans also includes Stephen King and Bruce Springsteen) have worked together on this project over time, and together put on a show of all the essays and songs, concluding with his essay about Marah themselves, and followed by a full concert of the band's own songs[citation needed].

One of the main characters in Hornby's A Long Way Down, a down on his luck rock singer delivering pizzas in north London and considering suicide on the last day of 1999, is widely supposed to have been inspired by Serge Bielanko's own experiences in London.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Novels
(1995) High Fidelity
(1998) About a Boy
(2001) How to Be Good
(2005) A Long Way Down
(2007) Slam

[edit] Non-fiction
(1992) Fever Pitch ISBN 0-14-029344-2
(2003) Songbook ISBN 1-57-322356-5 (also published as 31 Songs ISBN 0-14-101340-0)
(2004) The Polysyllabic Spree ISBN 1-932416-24-2
(2006) Housekeeping vs. the Dirt ISBN 1-932416-59-5

[edit] Anthologies edited
(1993) My Favourite Year: A Collection of Football Writing ISBN 0-7538-1441-2
(1996) The Picador Book of Sportswriting ISBN 0-330-33133-7
(2000) Speaking with the Angel (2000) ISBN 0-14-029678-6
(2005) Otherwise Pandemonium ISBN 0-14-102251-5

[edit] Film Adaptations
1997 Fever Pitch ? directed by David Evans; screenplay by Nick Hornby
2000 High Fidelity ? directed by Stephen Frears
2002 About a Boy ? directed by Chris and Paul Weitz
2005 Fever Pitch ? directed by Bob and Peter Farrelly
2007 A Long Way Down - expected in 2007, the film rights were bought by Johnny Depp before publication of the novel

[edit] References
^ Gender Trouble: Patrick McGuigan talks with Nick Hornby about the changing roles of men and women in his new novel How To Be Good
^ Nick Hornby Interview at
^ Hornby wins London literary award, BBC News

[edit] Further reading
O?Brien, C.. "About a teenager", Men, The Times, 2001-10-01. Retrieved on 2007-10-03.

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