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. In 2014 he published RUNNING FREE: A RUNNER'S JOURNEY BACK TO NATURE, which was short-listed for the Thwaites Wainwright Prize. He is also co-author of LET IT GO (2012), Dame Stephanie Shirley's account of her life as a champion of women's rights and philanthropy.
Richard's lifelong devotion to the subject of his 2016 book – TODAY WE DIE A LITTLE: EMIL ZÁTOPEK, OLYMPIC LEGEND TO COLD WAR HERO – inspired him to learn to speak (rudimentary) Czech, and to experiment, in the best Zátopek tradition, with carrying his wife on his back while training. The resulting biography was long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and shortlisted in the Cross Sports Book Awards. Richard's resulting semi-mastery of the Czech language led him to discover the extraordinary, lost story of the jockey Lata Brandisová, subject of his latest book, UNBREAKABLE: THE WOMAN WHO DEFIED THE NAZIS IN THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS HORSE-RACE (to be published by Yellow Jersey in March 2019).
In between those two biographies, he published PEOPLE POWER: REMAKING PARLIAMENT FOR THE POPULIST AGE (2018), a short, radical proposal (part of Biteback’s “Provocations” series) for reforming British politics to prevent the kind of clashes between competing visions of democratic legitimacy that have subsequently made the Brexit crisis so intractable.
Richard has also edited several books – including the acclaimed A HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR IN 100 MOMENTS (2014) – for The Independent, where he worked from 1993 to 2016 in a number of senior roles including Executive Editor and Associate Editor.