Nick Hornby emerged at the literary forefront with the publication of Fever Pitch, his 1992 memoir that focuses on his life as a fan of British football, or soccer, specifically the Arsenal Football Club. Organized as a series of short essays, each connects a theme to a specific football match between 1968 and 1992. One essay, for example, is titled “A Male Fantasy: Arsenal v Charlton Athletic, 18.11.86.”
Hornby’s first young adult novel, Slam (2007), is narrated by the teenager Sam Jones, an avid skateboarder. Sam’s hero is famous skateboarder Tony Hawk, whose poster he talks to and from whom he receives advice as he recites passages from his autobiography in Sam’s imagination. When Sam’s girlfriend Alicia informs him she is pregnant with his child, he must come to terms with pending fatherhood.
Essays that address topics also found in his fiction appear in several of Hornby’s anthologies. In Thirty-one Songs (2003; also known as Songbook), he discusses various songs, musicians, and specific aspects of music such as the emotions it inspires in him and how it has influenced his life and work. His collections The Polysyllabic Spree (2004) and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt (2006) are compilations of essays about books, some of which appeared in the book review column “Stuff I’ve Been Reading,” which Hornby has written for The Believer. In these books, he lists for specific months the books he has bought and those he has read. My Favourite Year: A Collection of New Football Writing (1993) and The Picador Book of Sportswriting (1996), coedited with Nick Coleman, gather essays about sports. Additionally, Hornby edited Contemporary American Fiction (1992), a collection of essays about American minimalist writers, and Speaking with the Angel (2000), a collection of short fiction.