|Born||22 July 1976|
Alexander Rupert Fiske-Harrison (born 22 July 1976) is an English author and journalist, broadcaster and conservationist. His writing has been noted for his immersion in his subject matter. He also trained and worked for some years as a Method actor.
For his first book Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight, which was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011, he became a bullfighter.
He is currently researching wolves, dogs and human-canine interactions and common history for a book provisionally titled The Land Of Wolves.
Background & Personal Life
He is the youngest son of Clive Fiske Harrison, chairman of Fiske plc, where he is also a non-executive director. His brother Jules William Fiske Harrison was, according to The Times, a "famously skilled and fearless skier" who died in a skiing accident in Zermatt, Switzerland in 1988.
Fiske-Harrison studied biological sciences and philosophy at the University of Oxford and as a posgraduate at the University of London. He also trained at the acting school the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York City when Marlon Brando was its chairman. (He was consultant on the Universal Pictures' documentary on Brando, Listen To Me Marlon.)
Fiske-Harrison has written for various newspapers and magazine including The Times, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, GQ The Spectator, and Prospect and has been himself featured in magazines such as Condé Nast's Tatler.
He has been interviewed and provided commentary on various broadcast media outlets including the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Discovery Channel, US National Public Radio. and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation National Radio.
A controversial essay on bullfighting for Prospect magazine in September 2008 led Fiske-Harrison to move to Spain to further research the topic. He lived, trained and fought alongside matadors including the one-eyed Juan José Padilla, Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez – whose father Paquirri was killed in the ring, and grandfather Antonio Ordóñez the subject of Hemingway's The Dangerous Summer – and Eduardo Dávila Miura of the famous Miura bull family. He wrote about his experiences on his blog The Last Arena: In Search of the Spanish Bullfight. In September 2009 the journalist Giles Coren visited him in Spain and described him as: "Very brave. Very British. Very Charge of the Light Brigade. Very trenches. Very scary."
Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight
In 2011 Profile Books published his Into The Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight. The Mail on Sunday gave it four stars, saying, "his descriptions of the fights are compelling and lyrical... One begins to understand what has captivated Spaniards for centuries." The Sunday Times said that "it provides an engrossing introduction to Spain's 'great feast of art and danger'", the Sunday Telegraph said, it was "a compelling read, unusual for its genre, exalting the bullfight as pure theatre," and the Financial Times called it, "an engrossing introduction to bullfighting."
In answer to Animal Welfare and Animal Rights concerns, the Daily Mail said that although Fiske-Harrison "develops a taste for the whole gruesome spectacle, what makes the book work is that he never loses his disgust for it," the Financial Times said, "it's to Fiske-Harrison's credit that he never quite gets over his moral qualms about bullfighting," and the Literary Review concluded: "The question of whether a modern society should endorse animal suffering as entertainment is bound to cross the mind of any casual visitor to a bullfight. Alexander Fiske-Harrison first tussled with the issue in his early twenties and, as a student of both philosophy and biology, has perhaps tussled with it more lengthily and cogently than most of us."
As part of his researches in 2009 Fiske-Harrison began running with the bulls in Pamplona, and became a part of the 'Runners Team of the World', and continued to do it across the rest of Spain, including the encierros, 'bull-runs', of the Navarran towns of Tafalla and Falces - where the run is down a mountain path beside a sheer drop called 'El Pilón'- in the Madrid suburb of San Sebastián de los Reyes and the ancient castle of Cuéllar in Old Castile, which hosts the oldest encierro, 'bull-run' in Spain, and where he was awarded a prize for writing about the encierros in 2013. He has written and spoken on the subject widely, including for Bear Grylls on the Discovery Channel and for the Esquire Network's coverage of the Pamplona running of the bulls.
Fiesta: How To Survive The Bulls Of Pamplona
In Spring 2014 Fiske-Harrison co-authored and edited the book Fiesta: How To Survive The Bulls Of Pamplona, published by Mephisto Press. It included a foreword from the Mayor of Pamplona and contributions from famous living aficionados of the festival of San Fermín, including John Hemingway, grandson of Ernest Hemingway, Beatrice Welles, daughter of Orson Welles, along with chapters of advice from the most experienced American and Spanish bull-runners such as Joe Distler, Julen Madina, Miguel Ángel Eguiluz and Jokin Zuasti and photographs from EPA veteran Jim Hollander. It caused headlines around the world when one of the contributors was gored by a bull soon after publication. Fiske-Harrison himself had been running with the same animal minutes earlier, although he was uninjured. In a feature on the event, the Daily Telegraph described Fiske-Harrison as "a stone-cold pragmatist with a poet's heart."
Fiske-Harrison's acting debut was as Govianus in The Second Maiden's Tragedy at the Hackney Empire theatre in London. He has also acted on the German stage and in independent film in the UK and Italy.
Alexander Fiske-Harrison & Gareth Kennerley
|Written by||Alexander Fiske-Harrison|
|Date premiered||3 June 2008|
|Place premiered||Jermyn Street Theatre, West End, London|
The play is a two-act four-hander set in 1900 Vienna. Its first production was in the summer of 2008 at the Jermyn Street Theatre, in London's West End.
Michael Billington in The Guardian gave it three stars and said, "Fiske-Harrison has clearly done his homework: he understands, for instance, the tensions between Franz Joseph’s imperial benevolence and the antisemitism of Vienna’s populist mayor, Karl Lueger. The author himself plays the disintegrating hero with the right poker-backed irascibility... while it is refreshing to find a new play that gets away from bedsit angst, one wonders why Fiske-Harrison has tackled this subject now. If there are contemporary parallels, they are not obvious, and one comes away with the sensation of having seen an accomplished, but oddly impersonal, historical play." The Sunday Times described it as "something earnest, nicely acted – if a little contained – but as far from the wildness of Schnitzler or the darkness of Schiele as you can possibly imagine".
- 'Biography', Alexander Fiske-Harrison website
- Owen, James 'Where Hemingway Feared To Tread', Mail on Sunday. 10 July 2011
- Hodgkinson, Thomas. 'A new literary movement: You have method actors, so why not method authors?', The Independent. 1 February 2016
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'A Good Run' The Spectator, 14 July 2012
- Winter, Laura. "Clive Fiske Harrison". Debrett's People of Today 2012
- Fiske Harrison of Layer de la Haye Burke's Peerage
- Coren, Giles. 'How do I hate skiing?', The Times 21 March 2009
- Profile Books Author page Alexander Fiske-Harrison
- Alexander Fiske-Harrison at the Internet Movie Database
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'Who to back in the Grand National? Not the tipsters' The Times. 12 April 2012
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'Talking with apes', Financial Times. 24 November 2001
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'To the Spanish bullfighting is much more than just a sport' Daily Telegraph. 25 November 2011
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'Can computers converse?', The Times Literary Supplement. 9 June 2000
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'The Last Matador', GQ. September 2012
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'Warrior: The Story of the real warhorse', The Spectator, 21 January 2012
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'On Philosophers and Wolves', Prospect. 22 January 2009
- Compston, Harriet. 'Hottie Ahoy!', Tatler. July 2008
- Lewis, Alun 'testbeds: Artificial Intelligence', BBC Radio 4, 17 February 2000
- 'The future of bullfighting in Spain', CNN, 28 July 2010
-  'Bullfighting debate with Alexander Fiske-Harrison and Jordi Casamitjana', Al-Jazeera, September 2008
- Frayer, Lauren  'World's Scariest Animal Attacks', Mentorn TV. 16 August 2012
- Bullfighting in Spain Stays Alive Despite Regional Ban', NPR. 28 September 2011.
- Doogue, Geraldine. 'Into the bullfighting arena', ABC National Radio. 4 August 2012
- Pina, Marina 'De Eton a Cuéllar, en un solo encierro', ABC. 31 August 2013
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'Gracias, Cuéllar, desde Londres' El Norte de Castilla. 3 September 2012
- Sánchez, Mamen. 'Alexander Fiske-Harrison, the English ‘gentleman’ who one day became an expert on bullfighting' (English translation, ¡Hola!. 13 May 2015
- Sánchez, Mamen. 'Alexander Fiske-Harrison, el 'gentleman' inglés que un día se convirtió en un experto del toreo ', ¡Hola!. 13 May 2015
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'Morality and Mortality: our views of animal others', Prospect, December 2007
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'Four legs good, two legs bad', Prospect. February 2009
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. The Ancient Contract Between Man And Wolf', Taki's Magazine. 4 April 2013
- Machuga, J. Félix. 'Los caballos siempre quieren darnos lo mejor que tienen', ABC. 2 May 2013
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'Weekend FT Cover Essay: Talking with apes', Financial Times. 24 November 2001
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'If we could talk to the animals...', Frieze. November 2003
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander. 'A Noble Death', Prospect. September 2008
- Davis, Clive. 'In the arena', The Spectator. 2 March 2009
- Coren, Giles. 'Mad bulls and Englishmen', The Times 26 December 2009
- Owen, James 'Where Hemingway Feared To Tread', Mail on Sunday. 10 July 2011
- Schofield, Brian 'Review: Into The Arena by Alexander Fiske-Harrison', Sunday Times. 29 May 2011
- Brown, Oliver 'Books for Christmas: Sport Books: Into The Arena', Sunday Telegraph. 27 November 2011
- Eltringham, Dan 'Books: Non-fiction: Into The Arena', Financial Times. 4 June 2011
- Palmer, Mark 'Etonian Matador Who Triumphs In The Bullring' Daily Mail. 26 May 2011
- France, Miranda 'Blood, Sweat and tears', Literary Review. August 2011
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'A Good Run', The Spectator, 14 July 2012
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander , The Spectator, 26 October 2013
- 7del7 Runner Team del Mundo
- 'My article ‘See you soon, Cuéllar’ in El Norte de Castilla' The Last Arena, 14 September 2014
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'Gracias, Cuéllar, desde Londres', 'El Norte de Castilla', 3 September 2012
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'Y una vez más,gracias, Cuéllar, desde Londres', 'El Norte de Castilla', 2 September 2013
- Fiske-Harrison, Alexander 'The real, old stuff', Financial Times, 31 May 2013
- Ernes 'Galardonados con el trofeo Ehtoro a la divulgación del encierro de Cuéllar', Burladero.com, 27 June 2013
- IMDb page
- 'Running Of The Bulls 2015:A democratic sport', Esquire TV
- 'Running Of The Bulls 2015: Why do Americans keep getting gored', Esquire TV
- Distler, Joe 'Why I will run the bulls again' New York Times, 6 July 2010
- 'Julen Madina: Cinco Cornadas Incrementan Su Leyenda' (Julen Madina: Five Gorings Increase His Legend) ABC, 14 July 2004
- 'Eguiluz: "Correr delante de la cara del toro es un éxtasis"' (Eguiluz: "Running in front of the face of the bull is an ecstasy") La Vanguardia 8 July 2014
- 'La tradicion por encima de todo' (Tradition above all) El Pais, 15 July 2009
- 'San Fermín So Far - 2014' The Pamplona Post, 12 July 2014
- 'Co-Author Of Bull-Running Guide Gored In Pamplona' New York Times, 9 July 2014
- 'Bull-Run Survival Guide Author Gored In Spain' The Times, 9 July 2014
- Furey, Joseph S.'Why running with the bulls is more than a deathwish', Daily Telegraph. 31 July 2015
- London Theatre Database page
- "'Alone Together':Familienkomödie im English Theatre", Die Welt. 23 November 2007
-  IMDb page
- Billington, Michael. 'Theatre Review: The Pendululm', The Guardian. 9 June 2008
- Wise, Louis. 'Theatre Review: The Pendulum, Jermyn Street, SW1'. Sunday Times 15 June 2008
- Alexander Fiske-Harrison Official Website
- 'The Land Of Wolves'
- Into The Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight Official Website of the Book
- 'The Last Arena – In Search Of The Spanish Bullfight' Alexander Fiske-Harrison's Bullfighting blog
- Alexander Fiske-Harrison's IMDb page
- The Pendulum Official Website of the Play