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Blink to publish the powerful, affecting and raw memoir from one of the true giants of British rugby

Blink Publishing, the leading commercial non-fiction imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired the moving and brave memoir from Steve Thompson.

James Hodgkinson, Senior Editor, acquired World rights from James Wills at Watson Little.

In 2003, England won the Rugby World Cup. Steve was in England’s front row, at the heart of the match, and at the heart of the scrum – one of sport’s most destructive, repetitive impacts. Today, he remembers nothing about playing in that 2003 final. In his words, watching the tape back is like watching a ghost.

Steve Thompson MBE is a former Rugby Union player and 2003 Rugby World Cup winner. Once England’s most capped hooker, Thompson has also played for the British & Irish Lions as well as playing almost 200 matches for the Northampton Saints.

The legacy of Steve’s life in rugby should be a host of treasured memories. Instead, it is one of trying to recall the names of his wife and four young children. Of being lost in a street he has walked down a hundred times.

Steve has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, the result of endless collisions, concussions, and injuries. He is now campaigning to improve the game and safeguard those who play it.

Unforgettable is part sports memoir – with stories contributed by his world-cup winning teammates and his former manager, Sir Clive Woodward – and part raw human storytelling. In it, Steve makes memories for himself and for his children, and will relive the biggest battle of his life, with his toughest opponent – his own mind.

Despite the constant reminders of what has been lost, and what is still to lose, Steve’s powerful story is one of hope and courage. Unforgettable will stand as testament to the ultimate strength of the human mind – and to a man no longer pushing himself to the limit for competition, but for his own place in the world.

James Hodgkinson said: ‘We at Bonnier are as proud as it’s possible to be publishing Steve’s story. He is a real force of nature: before, a colossus of England’s finest ever rugby team and now, a devoted family man using his voice to speak out. The honesty and bravery in his book moved me to tears, but Steve’s warmth, charisma and self-effacing humour make this a read that stays with you long after the final page. Unforgettable, in every sense.’

Steve Thompson said: ‘I’m so excited to be able to work with Bonnier on my book, Unforgettable. It’s not the story that anyone would have chosen for themselves – but it is mine. Countless people in the UK are affected by dementia – either directly or indirectly – and I hope my story can help shed new light on some of the difficult conversations so many of us have to have, and to show people that hope and happiness can be found in even the toughest of situations. If my standing up and speaking out can help someone else, I’m proud to do it.’

Unforgettable will be published in hardback, audio and eBook in April 2022 coinciding with the rugby Six Nations season.