Over the past decade, Clarksdale native Wright Thompson has steadily carved out a niche as one of the most successful sportswriters in America.
His work includes the most-read articles in the history of ESPN Magazine and he’s been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing books 10 times.
Thompson will be in Clarksdale this Friday night during an appearance from 5 to 7 at the Carnegie Public Library where he’ll be speaking about and reading from his newest book, “The Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business.”
The book, which was released Tuesday, April 2, is a collection of portraits ranging from sports superstars past and present, to legendary coaches, to Thompson’s own father.
“Thompson strips away the myths and fantasies around the sports icons we think we all know, rendering the hard lessons we can learn from the humans beneath the fabled façades,” said a press release from Penguin Random House, the publisher of Thompson’s newest book.
“From NBA legend Pat Riley, who goes to amazing lengths to escape a troubled past, to Tiger Woods’ complex duel between his public and private lives, to Michael Jordan’s grappling with the big 5-0, Thompson’s flawless storytelling reveals a universal truth: that the tools required to gain greatness can often prevent a person from enjoying it,” said the press release.
Whether Thompson’s writing on the rugged family dynamics of professional coaches juggling parenting and work, or Ted Williams’ multigenerational family pain, the bond between fathers and their children is a common theme running through these profiles. It reaches a touching crescendo in the book’s final essay, where Thompson relates the story of how his father died of cancer before he could realize his dream of walking August National during the Masters Tournament—and how Thompson eventually took that walk for him.
A Mississippi native who now makes his home in Oxford with his family, Thompson’s cultural curiosity for the South is alive in his sports reporting.
In one of the most resonant essays in the collection, he revisits his home state of Mississippi to uncover how the legacy of the fall of 1962—when Ole Miss was embroiled in riots over the racial integration of its campus, but simultaneously enjoying its only perfect football season in history—still grips the state today.
The event, which is sponsored in part by the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, is part of the library’s Community Book Talks Lecture Series. For more information, call 662-624-4461.