Paul Broks talks fiction, football and cultural value with the godfather of lad-lit.
Hornby is a man of many writing parts. Gifted with a prose style both erudite and easy on the inner ear, he is probably still best known for the original and hugely influential memoir, Fever Pitch (1992), which chronicles his lifelong obsession with Arsenal football club. If he didn’t actually spark the early 1990s “middle-class revolution” in English football he was, for good or ill, unquestionably in the vanguard. His five novels have been critically acclaimed bestsellers, with the sixth destined for similar. He is also an astute columnist and essayist, writing for the New Yorker and voguish American publications such as McSweeney’s and its sister magazine the Believer. Then there’s the screenwriting, first for the British adaptation of Fever Pitch (there was a second, Americanised, version with the Boston Red Sox supplanting Arsenal) and now for An Education.