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Neil Arksey Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights

england london author soccer

Born in Nottingham, England.

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Puffin, Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.

Author of books for children and young adults. Actor and drama teacher at New Globe Theatre, London, England; has also worked as a lifeguard, computer consultant, and sports instructor.

English PEN (member of steering committee).

Playing on the Edge was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award.

FICTION

Brooksie, Corgi Yearling (London, England), 1998.

Result!, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

MacB, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

Playing on the Edge, Puffin (London, England), 2000.

Flint, Corgi Yearling (London, England), 2000.

Sudden Death, Corgi Yearling (London, England), 2001.

As Good as Dead in Downtown, Puffin (London, England), 2004.

Also author of "Banana," a short story.

OTHER

Author of screenplays for television series, including Teddybears, Mile High, Kipper, Crossroads, and Doctors; co-developed and wrote screenplays for Little Robots (preschool animated series); created storylines for television dramas, including Secret Lives, Crossroads, Family Affairs, and River City. Also author of radio drama Brighton Rocks, broadcast by British Broadcasting Corporation, 2003.

Brooksie and MacB were adapted for radio and broadcast by the BBC in 2003.

Prime Evil, a horror novel for pre-teens.

British writer Neil Arksey has published several well-received works for children and young adults, including MacB, Playing on the Edge, and As Good as Dead in Downtown. He is best known for penning tales that revolve around the sport of European football, also known as soccer. Arksey, a former actor who performed at the Globe Theatre in London, England, has also written for television, writing scripts for the children's series Teddybears and Kipper, as well as Secret Lives, a Finnish soap opera.

Arksey's debut novel, Brooksie, appeared in 1998. The work concerns the tempestuous relationship between Lee Brooks and his father, a soccer star whose lackluster play proves embarrassing to Lee. When Lee moves to a new neighborhood, he strives to create a new identity for himself, separate from his father's legacy. In Result!, a 1999 work, Ashley must convince his father, an iron-fisted soccer coach, that he can do more than simply play in goal. "You don't have to be any good at football, you don't even have to play to enjoy stories set in the world of football," Arksey commented in an interview on the Jubilee Books Web site. "My hope is that some people who have, for whatever reason, been alienated from football or maybe never even really encountered it, could be turned on to the game by my stories."

Arksey updates the Shakespearean drama MacBeth in MacB, another title published in 1999. In the work, the lives of two friends, Banksie and MacB, are forever altered after a fortune-teller tells them they will both captain their soccer team. When the team's star player, Duncan King, suffers an untimely accident, Banksie and MacB vie for the leadership role.

The 2000 novel Playing on the Edge was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. Set in the year 2064, the work follows Easy Linker, an elite player who revolts against the corporate powers that dominate British soccer. In an interview on the Achuka Web site, Arskey stated that he wanted to examine the economic structure of his favorite sport in the book. "The relationship between soccer and big business seems to have developed a scary logic and momentum. Some would say it's out of control," the author observed. "The widening social gap between the haves and have-nots is reflected in the world of football where rich clubs get richer and the poor ones struggle to pay their bills. Whatever happened to the level playing field? In Playing on the Edge I was looking at where it might all be leading."

A young man from a troubled background is the protagonist of the 2000 work Flint as well as the 2001 title Sudden Death. In Flint, the title character is told by his controlling, ill-tempered father, a petty thief, that he cannot play soccer under any circumstances. In Sudden Death, Flint is placed in a foster home after his father lands in prison. His foster father is the coach of a top local team, and Flint gets the opportunity to display his skills.

As Good as Dead in Downtown, "a superb futuristic thriller," according to Claudia Mody in Bookseller, appeared in 2004. Kai, a genetically modified being who serves as an assassin, lives in the slums of Portobello, a city ruled by the powerful Nebula. Kai, who can sense the shifting of the earth's tectonic plates, devises a plan to escape Portobello by riding a tsunami to freedom, but first he must track down Phoebe and Phoenix, a pair of genetically modified twins who have escaped from their laboratory. Arksey "has served his apprenticeship and is emerging as an exciting author," Mody remarked.

The tsunami that hit Thailand on December 26, 2004, had a profound effect on the author. Arksey had toured that nation earlier in the year, visiting schools in Phuket, a town that was ravaged by the destructive wave. The author planned to donate all profits from signed copies of As Good as Dead in Downtown purchased through his Web site to the disaster relief effort ongoing through early 2005.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Bookseller, January 16, 2004, Claudia Mody, "Teenage Reads," review of As Good as Dead in Downtown, p. 37.

ONLINE

Achuka Web site, http://www.achuka.co.uk/ (February 1, 2005), "Neil Arksey Answers Six Quick Questions."

Jubilee Books Web site, http://www.jubileebooks.co.uk/ (November, 2000), interview with Arksey.

Official Neil Arksey Home Page, http://www.neilarksey.co.uk (February 1, 2005).

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