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Peter Pan's First XI: The extraordinary story of J. M. Barrie's cricket team

Kevin Telfer

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Autobiography: general, Prose: non-fiction, History, Lifestyle, sport & leisure

The story of possibly the most extraordinary cricket team ever to have taken the field.

The creator of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, was a hugely enthusiastic cricketer of very little talent. That didn t stop him from leading perhaps the most extraordinary amateur cricket team ever to have taken the field. Some of the twentieth century s most famous writers including A. A. Milne, P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome, regularly turned out for Barrie s team between 1890 and 1913. This very Edwardian vision of village cricket was only brought to an end by the First World War.

Those years of golden summers were recounted in Barrie s letters and journals, many revealed here for the first time. Cricket lovers will identify with Barrie s attempts to assemble a team of competent players.

In PETER PAN'S FIRST XI, Kevin Telfer weaves together cricket, literature, history, humour and biography to create an entertaining account of this little-known band of cricketing Peter Pans and the age in which they lived.

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Praise for Peter Pan's First XI: The extraordinary story of J. M. Barrie's cricket team

  • Telfer's book is a fine exposition of a little-known subject, one that manages to be more than just a cricketing chronicle, and that uses Barrie's haphazard team as a prism through which to view the wider prewar period. - Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times

  • In an entertaining history of the team, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Barrie's birth, Telfer happily combines a mordant humour with an imaginative ambition to find in this celebration of cricket an allusive metaphor for a golden twilight of prelapsarian Edwardian England and the fall of a graceful innocence, when stumps were pulled for the last time, into the trenches and the immortality of Neverland - The Times

  • [Telfer] has unearthed a lovely and singular tale of men, sport and foolishness, perfect for a warm summer's day. - Marcus Berkmann, Daily Mail

  • We have an increasing need for Edwardian idylls in the 21st century, and Barrie's idyll, which involved the creation of a cricket team who tried very hard indeed never to grow up, is lovingly recorded in Peter Pan's First XI, by Kevin Telfer, timed to coincide with Barrie?s 150th birthday. The tragedy is that we all have to grow up, but at least we have cricket to keep the process at bay. - Simon Barnes, The Times

  • Entertaining - The Times Literary Supplement

  • In this delightful book, Kevin Telfer tells the story of this lifelong love affair and its implications for Barrie and his charmed circle. The book attempts to capture an age and its attitudes and can be enjoyed by even those who do not have a penchant for England's summer game. - The Telegraph, Calcutta

  • This is a wonderful book, written with great elegance and affection, scrupulously researched and packed full of terrific stories. - Spectator

  • 'Evocative and often very funny'. - Sunday Telegraph

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Kevin Telfer

Kevin Telfer is the author of three books including The Remarkable Story of Great Ormond Street Hospital (2008), where he first found out about J. M. Barrie and the Allahakbarries due to Barrie's fascinating connection with the hospital. He has written for the Guardian, the Sunday Times and The Idler.

He was rather more athletic than Barrie as a childhood cricketer but still never managed a score of more than 12 in a competitive match and last played when he was seventeen years old. Nonetheless, he has a lifelong love of listening to cricket on the radio.

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