John Turnbull, with the help of Alon Raab and Thom Satterlee, put together The Global Game, an anthology of important influential and downright fascinating football writing. The book, which gathered the classiest works from across the globe, was incredibly useful in my PhD research. It is one of the best books of and about football writing published to date. It uncovers a range of texts written in languages other than English and highlights the range of literary interests in the game. I love it. John also engineered a brilliant website with the same name. It’s not around anymore, but this article by Caitlin Moyles captures its value and its sensibilities.
I was fortunate enough to meet John at a conference a few years ago, to watch him present an excellent paper on the challenges faced by goalkeepers. I’m pretty sure it focused on those in fiction, but for some reason the Great Lev Yashin was stuck in my head. There’s a copy of Alone in the Woods in the The Free Library and more of his work (from 2011) can be found at World Literature Today.
The boy Turnbull shares my interest in, love of, great football writing. So for my own sake, and in the interests of this blog’s purpose as digital scrapbook, I wanted to connect to his work to my larger project to keep track of what I’ve been reading and rereading as my research continues.
In his contribution to the five books series he notes books by Galeano, Goldblatt, Kuper and the work of fiction that inspired Bend it Like Beckham. JT also notes one of my favourite football films, Offside – the incredible, subversive, Iranian film. The discussion around the texts is rich and insightful and characteristic of the depth of John’s knowledge.