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Literary Family's Success

Staying Up, the controversial book about Coventry City, is to be reprinted for a second time after selling out in hardback.

The book chronicled a season behind the scenes with the Sky Blues, with author Rik Gekoski having unrivalled access to the City squad for a year.

It hit the headlines after a passage about striker Dion Dublin’s manhood was reported by several national newspapers, an episode which led to the club banning the book for a while.

The paperback edition is due to hit the bookshops this winter, but Gekoski, a former senior lecturer in English at the University of Warwick and a Sky Blue season ticket holder, has decided against adding a chapter about the controversy.

He said:

"Five thousand copies were printed in hardback and they have sold out. The publishers Little Brown then decided to produce another 750 and they have also gone which is very pleasing.

"The paperback is out in November and they are printing 15,000 copies. Because the book was auctioned off and there was interest from several publishers, a paperback edition was always likely, but I gather that 15,000 is a serious amount."

The book received favourable reviews from several national newspapers and was praised by City fan and former Observer editor Donald Trelford, writing in the Daily Telegraph.

Gekoski says he no longer has a close relationship with the players and management at Highfield Road – but he maintains that was inevitable.

"The fact of the matter is that I don’t have a relationship with the club. It was always going to be the case that I had a great opportunity to write a book but at the end of the season it was a clean break.

"There was the contretemps about Dion Dublin but we didn’t have to sort it out because the period when I was close to the club had already finished.

"I considered adding another chapter, and indeed wrote one, but I had always set out to write a book about a season so decided to leave it as it was."

Staying Up is not the only literary success for the Gekoski family – Rick’s daughter Anna has recently had a book on British serial killers published.

He added:

"I am glad to say that Anna’s book – Murder By Numbers - is also coming out as a paperback. At the moment I am outselling her, but crime books naturally sell better as paperbacks. Hers may also have a longer shelf life and I am sure she will outsell me!"

Anna is just 23 – very young for a published author – and studied criminology at Cambridge after being educated in Leamington Spa.

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Arts Alive - 29 May to 3 July 1999

Staying Up by Rick Gekoski

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CWN / Arts / 4 Jun 99

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