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Marvin Close


Marvin is currently writing the biography of Hope Powell for Bloomsbury Press.

He is also researching and writing a new book about football in Palestine, called More Noble Than War, and the script for a new movie, War Is The Cry, set in wartime Hull.


Photo: Marvin Close
More Than Just A Game: Football vs Apartheid

Currently on release worldwide, published by Harper Collins (St Martin's Press in the USA). Co-written with Professor Chuck Korr, it is the true story of how the political prisoners on South Africa's infamous Robben Island turned football into an active force in their struggle for freedom. Despite torture, regular beatings and backbreaking labour, the men defied all odds and played organized league football in one of the most brutal hellholes on earth for over 20 years. It was Book of the Week in The Independent On Sunday and The Irish Times, and the subject of a documentary made by ESPN in the United States, and a half hour long BBC Radio 4 programme in the UK. More Than Just A Game is currently out in Japanese, Korean, Italian, Czech and Dutch translations, plus editions in Canada, South Africa and Australasia – and now the USA in paperback.

As a dramatist and scriptwriter for British television, Marvin has written over 70 episodes of Emmerdale, scripted episodes for Tracey Beaker, Doctors, 24/7 and Three Seven Eleven, and storylined over 200 Coronation Street shows. He has also worked as Script Consultant on Nickelodeon children's TV series, House of Anubis.

For BBC Radio, he has written and co-produced two recent documentaries, Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus – the bizarre true story of how the Pythons ended up making two TV Specials in Bavaria – in German. A language that none of them could speak. And Your Starter For Ten – a one hour history of 50 years of University Challenge.

A former writer-in-residence at Manchester's Library Theatre, Marvin's stage plays include the award-winning comedy Dorothy Parker's Dead; the story of The Goons, Crazy People (co-written with John Chambers); an investigation of modern work, Working; a homage to Oliver Hardy, Ton of Jollity; and a political history of Hull dockers, No Surrender!

For BBC Radio Four, he co-wrote two series of the comedy, Arnold Brown and Company; and co-created and wrote two series of the nostalgia comedy series, Where Were You?

Photo: Marvin Close

For over 30 years, he has played extensively in bands as a singer and guitarist and written or co-written over 100 pop, rock and folk songs. No hits, but plenty of experience! And more than anything, a passionate desire to share the joys of songwriting.

Marvin has delivered numerous writing workshops and lectures at universities, colleges and arts festivals, has tutored for the Arvon Foundation and worked extensively as a writer for the Arts Council. From 2002 to 2007 Marvin was a part-time tutor and lecturer on Leeds Metropolitan University's MA in Screenwriting, and worked closely with the then Course Director Alby James, to develop new ideas and directions for the course.

In 2010, Marvin worked as writer-in-residence at Tweendykes Special School in Hull, England, helping children with autism and learning difficulties improve their communication skills. Marvin wrote and produced a BBC documentary short called Invisible Eddie, about his son's experience of growing up with autism.

A former journalist on The Sheffield Star evening newspaper, Marvin gained a BA (Hons) in Educational Studies and English at Lancaster University, and then undertook two years of postgraduate research into post war educational history at Leeds University.

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Posted by: Kevin Machin Date: February 9, 2015 2:12 pm
Categories: People Tags: tutors, alumni
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