July 2012: Andrew O'Hagan
The Royal Society of Literature has some 500 Fellows. They include most of the very best novelists, short-story writers, poets, playwrights, biographers, historians, travel writers, literary critics and scriptwriters at work today.
Our new Fellow's Choice page features selections from the RSL Library by one of our Fellows. This month, read RSL Council member Andrew O'Hagan's article on the relationship between sport and writing in the final count-down to the London Olympics 2012, and listen to his selections from our Library.
As the youngest in a large family of boys, for a long time I inherited clothes as opposed to having them bought for me, and this was a kind of hell. It wasn’t bad if we’re talking about hand-me-down jumpers or jeans, but when it came to football shorts, which had seen three skinny arses before they saw mine, it was a bit like inheriting boots from Charlie Chaplin. I was rubbish at football anyhow, and my father, who cared more for a single day in the life of Glasgow Celtic F.C. than he did for the entire literary output of the Bloomsbury Group, decided, after watching me score an own-goal in the only match he ever watched me play in, that I was bound to end up in jail or at university, whichever was the worst outcome. And meanwhile, my brothers’ collection of silver trophies mounted up on the fireplace. So I might be forgiven for hating Euro 2012. Yet I don’t. I look at it and feel it draws from me not only a certain nostalgie de la bou, but also signals the return of community energy and the best kind of nationalistic brio. It is a time to put arguments about the rights and wrongs of empire behind, you might say, and shout for your team. The same will go for the Olympics. I’ve already been down to the village and noted, with a sense of amazement, how the old rubber-making yards and paint plants of Stratford have become a kind of neon-lit nature reserve advertising...
In this RSL Review article from 2010, Lynn Truss' obsession with sports writing is revealed.
Iain Sinclair talks about Olympic borough Hackney, at this RSL lecture from 2009.
In this recording from 2006, David Gilmour debates the British Empire.