FEATURE: How one man crossed the great divide to write a rugby league book in 10 weeks

Neil Barraclough

This is the second installment of a two-part interview with author Andrew Quirke, who here reveals a frantic schedule for working on Graeme West’s autobiography. You can read the first part here.

For most writers, taking on one book is a big enough challenge. Not Andrew Quirke.

The rugby league author has two autobiographies in their final stages, with Paul Loughlin’s From Grass to Glass set to be released in September 2011 before Graeme West’s autobiography hits the shelves later this year.

Quirke revealed: “Graeme’s moving back to New Zealand at the end of the year, which meant we had 10 weeks in total to write the book from start to finish!”

He added: “Thankfully, Graeme was a writer’s dream. The first time I sat down with him, he spoke for two hours and I’d only asked one question. He never repeated himself, and he went through things in a chronological order.

“After a few meetings we’d got everything sorted. I went away and wrote the book, and we’re just going through the editing now. I’m really excited about this book, because Graeme’s told a really good story.”

From Hawera to Wigan will be published by London League Publications and is set to hit the shops before Christmas 2011.

And it covers more than just West’s time with Wigan, said Quirke.

“It was a pleasure just to spend time with Graeme – and that’s coming from a St Helens fan!

“It was genuinely nice to sit down with him and listen to his views. There’s a big section in the book about what he’d do to improve rugby league in this country, and I completely agreed with everything he said. He’s very passionate about rugby league in the UK.”

He continued: “I did get a couple of text messages from mates jokingly calling me ‘Judas’ for working on a Wigan book, but it’s the story and the person that attracts me. Wigan fans are very supportive of their legends, and I can see them supporting this book when it comes out.”