Nick Hornby (born 17 April 1957 in Redhill, Surrey, England) is an English novelist and essayist. He was brought up in Maidenhead and was educated at Maidenhead Grammar School and Jesus College, Cambridge. He is best known for the novels High Fidelity, About a Boy and for the football memoir Fever Pitch. His work frequently touches upon music, sports, and the both aimless and obsessive natures of his protagonists.
His third novel, About a Boy, published in 1998, is about two "boys" -- Marcus, an awkward yet endearing adolescent from a single parent family, and the free floating, mid-30s Will Freeman who overcomes his own immaturity and self-centeredness through his growing relationship with Marcus. Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult starred in the 2002 movie version. In 1999 Hornby received the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The novel How to Be Good was published in 2001. The female protagonist in the novel explores contemporary morals, marriage and parenthood. It won the WH Smith Award for Fiction in 2002. A part of the money he earned with his next book Speaking with the Angel in 2002 was donated to TreeHouse, a charity for children with autism, the disorder that affects Hornby's own son. He was editor of the book, which contained twelve short stories written by his friends. He also contributed to the collection with the story "NippleJesus. In 2003 Hornby wrote a collection of essays on selected popular songs and the emotional resonance they carry, called 31 Songs (known in the US as Songbook). Also in 2003, Hornby was awarded the London Award 2003, an award that was selected by fellow writers.
Hornby has also written essays on various aspects of popular culture, and in particular he has become known for his writing on pop music and mix tape enthusiasts. He also began writing a book review column, "Stuff I've Been Reading," for the monthly magazine The Believer; several of these articles are collected in The Polysyllabic Spree (2004) and Housekeeping vs. The Dirt (2006).
Hornby's novel A Long Way Down was published in 2005. It was on the shortlist for the Whitbread Novel Award. Hornby has also edited two sports-related anthologies: My Favourite Year and The Picador Book of Sports Writing.
Hornby's newest book, entitled Slam, was released on October 16, 2007, is his first novel for young adults and was recognized by the Young Adult Library Services Association as a 2008 Best Book for Young Adults. The protagonist of Slam is a 15-year-old skateboarder named Sam whose life changes drastically when his girlfriend gets pregnant.
Hornby and Marah (whose small but intensely dedicated band of fans also includes Stephen King and Bruce Springsteen) have worked together on this project over time, and together put on a show of all the essays and songs, concluding with his essay about Marah themselves, and followed by a full concert of the band's own songs.
One of the main characters in Hornby's A Long Way Down, a down on his luck rock singer delivering pizzas in north London and considering suicide on the last day of 1999, is widely supposed to have been inspired by Serge Bielanko's own experiences in London.
Hornby's music criticism (most notably for The New Yorker and in his own Songbook) has been widely criticised by writers such as Kevin Dettmar (in his book Is Rock Dead), Curtis White (in an essay at www.centreforbookculture.org, titled "Kid Adorno, Barry Faulk and Simon Reynolds for its embrace of rock traditionalism and conservative take on post-rock and other experimental musics (exemplified in Hornby's negative review of the Radiohead album Kid A: "Beyond the Pale," New Yorker, 30 October 2000).
Hornby is also planning on collaborating with American singer/songwriter Ben Folds to record an album over the span of just 3 days in December, with Folds writing the music and Hornby writing the lyrics.
Hornby's sister is married to Robert Harris (novelist).
Nick Hornby is also related to small time SideFace guitarist Ollie Wildeman.