My book ‘Into The Arena’ shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book Prize

It has just been announced that my book, Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight has been promoted from the longlist for the world’s richest sports writing prize, the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award 2011, onto the six-strong short list.

I should like to say that without the friendship and courage of the matadors of Spain, most particularly my Maestro Eduardo Dávila Miura and my friend Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez, this book would never have existed. However, the greatest thanks of all are owed to the first matador I met, the Cyclone from Jerez, Juan José Padilla, who is even now recuperating from a hideous near-fatal goring and preparing himself for further surgical intervention in Seville next week in the hope they can restore the sight to his left eye after the bull’s horn took it away (see earlier blogposts.) Continue reading

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The matador Juan José Padilla, in his own words – #fuerzapadilla

Juan José Padilla with a Miura bull, Feria de Abril, Seville 2010 (Photo: Alexander Fiske-Harrison)

For those that missed the news story (here) Spain’s bravest matador, Juan José Padilla – a friend of mine and major character in my recent book Into The Arena – was terribly gored a fortnight ago. In this interview he speaks of his recovery. A translation of some of his words is below…

Alexander Fiske-Harrison

They know that this is my life and they know that this is my profession, and they know that I am going to fight, I will give my utmost to be able to face bulls again, because that is what makes me happy.

And because the bull has given me everything. The bull has given me magnificent triumphs, I have been the victor of the greatest fairs in Spain, and the fact that a bull is going to give me injuries does not meant that I am going to feel any bitterness towards him. I will return to face the bulls.

In the words of Adolfo Suárez Illana this morning, who is with him, “He is getting better little by little. But he is getting there…”

#fuerzapadilla

Juan José Padilla and I in the ring together in March ’09 (Photo: Paloma de Gaytan Ayala)