Strangely Intriguing Photos of Famous Authors Playing Sports

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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]