Strangely Intriguing Photos of Famous Authors Playing Sports


Whether it’s because of the jocks vs. brains dichotomy or the idea that literary folks are fragile artists, we’re always surprised to find out that a renowned author also excelled as an athlete. That, perhaps, is why we were so intrigued when the archivists at How to Be a Retronaut posted a photo of none other than Agatha Christie snuggling up to a surfboard. Out of curiosity, we started Googling to see which of our other favorite authors have been caught on film playing a sport. In the gallery after the jump, you’ll see Jack Kerouac killing it on the football field, Simone de Beauvoir shooting a gun, Norman Mailer arm wrestling Muhammad Ali, and — what we consider to be our prize find — a young Virginia Woolf playing cricket.

Agatha Christie, one of the first Brits to surf, on Waikiki beach in 1922

Jack Kerouac, high-school football star, scoring a touchdown [via]

A young Virginia Woolf (left) and her sister Vanessa Bell playing cricket [via]

Red Badge of Courage author Stephen Crane — front and center — with his Syracuse University baseball team, 1891 [via]

A young, stylish Ernest Hemingway fishes in Horton’s Creek, Michigan [via]

Haruki Murakami, a marathon runner and triathlon competitor, wrote about his experiences in the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running [via]

Simone de Beauvoir shooting a gun, with Jean-Paul Sartre, 1929 [via]

Muhammad Ali arm wrestles with his biographer, Norman Mailer (who also famously moonlighted as a boxer), 1965

Stephen King throws out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game, 2009 [via]

Joseph O’Neill doesn’t just write about cricket — the celebrated Netherland author also plays for the Staten Island Cricket Club [via]