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Friday 19 September 2014

O'Driscoll book 'to be written from scratch' as publishers bring on sub for Kimmage

Barry Duggan

Published 31/01/2014 | 02:30

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BRIAN O'Driscoll's autobiography is going to be written from scratch just months before it is due to be published, following his fall-out with the original ghostwriter Paul Kimmage.

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Alan English, the editor of the 'Limerick Leader', has been parachuted in to write the eagerly anticipated life story of Ireland's record try scorer.

Mr English, who has completed three rugby books, was only contacted by the publishers in recent days as Kimmage dramatically resigned from the project he had been working on for two years.

'Sunday Independent' journalist Kimmage said that he had been left hurt by the player's refusal to offer him an exclusive interview ahead of this weekend's Six Nations opener against Scotland.

He also revealed that he had transcribed interviews totalling 600,000 words with the Leinster star, and had already completed a draft of 20,000 words – all of which will be scrapped.

Mr English yesterday described the work ahead as "challenging" but said he would be completing his own work and research.

"I'm not intending to produce a bland book and I'm sure Brian O'Driscoll isn't either," he said.

"I will be doing my own interviews. I think Paul is quoted today as saying that he had written 20,000 words. I wouldn't even dream of asking him to see those. That was his work."

Mr English added: "There is no question in my mind had circumstances been different, Paul Kimmage would have written an absolutely outstanding book so I do feel quite a bit of pressure. I can only be as good as I can be. I'd like to think I respond well to pressure," he said, while speaking on Limerick's Live 95FM.

He said he spoke with O'Driscoll recently. "I will be meeting him quite soon again and get to know his family members... It is important that you have a real sense of the guy. You really need to know the person you are writing about."

He also said: "I was in touch with Paul yesterday. It is a difficult time for him and a difficult decision that he has made. I do sympathise with him.

"Knowing Paul, he would have invested a huge amount of time and effort into this project and it is a sad outcome for him."

Mr English said the job of a ghostwriter is to be the conveyor of the subject's "thoughts, feelings and interpretations of events in their own words".

"I've met Brian a couple of times. I can't pretend to be a friend but when I did meet him, I very much liked him.

"I haven't been brought in to write a sham of a book. I have been brought in to write a good book. I need to get to know him very well – that is absolutely critical."

Kimmage, who admitted he fell out with the Leinster player in recent days, said he will not be making any further comment.

He passed on his best wishes to O'Driscoll and Mr English, whom he previously worked with at 'The Sunday Times'.

Mr English has written several rugby books including, 'Stand Up and Fight: When Munster Beat the All Blacks' and 'Grand Slam: How Ireland Achieved Rugby Greatness – in the Players' Own Words'.

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