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 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. This was followed in 2008 by 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. He is co-author of Let IT Go (2012), Dame Stephanie Shirley’s account of her life as a champion of women’s rights and philanthropy.
In 2014, he published Running Free: A Runner’s Journey Back to Nature, which was short-listed for the 2015 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for UK Nature and Travel Writing.
His much-praised biography, Today We Die A Little: Emil Zátopek, Olympic Legend to Cold War Hero, was published in 2016 (by Yellow Jersey in the UK and by Nation Books in the US). Short-listed for the Cross Sports Book Awards and long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, it came out in paperback in April 2017.
In February 2018, as part of Biteback’s “Provocations” series, he published People Power: Remaking Parliament for the populist age – a short, radical proposal for reforming British democracy.
His most recent book is a biography of an unjustly forgotten female sporting icon, Lata Brandisová. Unbreakable: the Woman Who Defied the Nazis in the World’s Most Dangerous Horse-race was published by Yellow Jersey in March 2019. It is published in the US by Pegasus in September 2019 and by Mladá fronta in the Czech Republic in October 2019.
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, his colleagues are mostly quadrupeds.