Fife writer up for top award for rugby autobiography

St Andrews writer Mark Eglington
St Andrews writer Mark Eglington
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An autobiography co-written by a St Andrews man has been nominated for a prestigious award at a ceremony in London.

‘Blindsided’, the story of former Australian rugby captain Michael Lynagh, has been shortlisted for the ‘International Sports Autobiography of the Year’ at the Cross Sponsored British Sports Book Awards.

The book was co-written by St Andrews man Mark Eglington, who has also written a book on Metallica’s James Hetfield.

Mr Eglington said that he hopes the book “transcends the sport biography” as it also tells the story of Lynagh surviving a life-threatening stroke in 2012.

He recovered, but with the loss of the left half of the vision in both eyes (hence the title Blindsided).

The book began when Mark heard the news of the rugby star’s illness, which recalled a memory from his childhood.

When younger, Mark was in an Edinburgh boarding school, and travelled to Hong Kong as part of the rugby sevens, and there he happend to meet Lynagh.

“I remember thinking he was a lovely person, and when I saw him on the television playing rugby I was reminded of how nice he was.

“When I saw news of his stroke and recovery, I felt that was a story worth telling.

“I got in touch and pitched the idea to him,” Mark said, noting that at first Lynagh was reticent about the idea.

“He is a very modest guy and didn’t think people would be interested in reading about him,” Mark added. “But I proposed that I write a few chapters and he replied that he wanted to read more even though he was there and a part of it, so we went ahead with the rest of the book.”

Mark summed up Lynagh’s unassuming character with the fact that it wasn’t until the book was almost finished that he revealed to Michael that he has Scottish blood in his family.

The British Sports Book Awards is an annual promotion for sports writing and publishing, aiming to highlight the most outstanding sports books and to enhance their reputation and profile.

Mark hopes that being recognised will have this effect.

“We are very grateful and pleased,” Mark said.

Also shortlisted in the same category are books by Ronda Rousey, Mark Webber, Didier Drogba, Marco Negri and Dan Carter.

The ceremony takes place at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on the evening of Wednesday, June 1.