Richard Askwith is a Northamptonshire-based journalist and author whose passions include running, outdoor adventure and the traditions and ordinary people of the English countryside.
His most recent book, Unbreakable: the Countess, the Nazis in the World’s Most Dangerous Horse-race, tells the astonishing story of an unjustly forgotten female sporting icon, Lata Brandisová, and her struggles against gender prejudice and totalitarianism. Published in 2019, Unbreakable won Biography of the Year at the Telegraph Sports Book Awards, and was also long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
But Richard is probably best-known for his books about running. His cult book about fell-running, Feet in the Clouds (2004), won him the Best New Writer prize at the British Sports Publishing Awards and the Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition, as well as being shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and for the Boardman-Tasker Prize.
His 2014 book, Running Free: A Runner’s Journey Back to Nature, was short-listed for the 2015 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for UK Nature and Travel Writing. And his much-praised biography of of the incomparable Emil Zátopek, ‘Today We Die A Little’ (2016) ,was short-listed for the Cross Sports Book Awards and long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
His other books include The Lost Village: In Search of a Forgotten Rural England, which was named Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the 2009 Saga Grown-Up Awards; and People Power: Remaking Parliament for the populist age – a short, radical proposal for reforming British democracy, published in February 2018 as part of Biteback’s “Provocations” series. He is also co-author of Let IT Go (2012; 2017), Dame Stephanie Shirley’s account of her life as a champion of women’s rights and philanthropy (soon to become a film directed by Haifaa al-Mansour).
Richard has also edited several books – including the acclaimed A History of the Great War in 100 Moments – for The Independent, where he worked from 1993 to 2016 in a number of senior roles including Executive Editor and Associate Editor. Today, he is a full-time writer whose colleagues are mostly quadrupeds.