Simon Kuper

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Simon Kuper
Simon Gad Kuper

Kampala, Uganda
NationalityBritish, French[1]
Known forSports journalism, political journalism, foreign coverage

Simon Kuper is a British, and naturalized French, author and journalist, best known for his work at the Financial Times and as a football writer. After studies at Oxford, Harvard University and the Technische Universität Berlin, Kuper started his career in journalism at the FT in 1994, where he today writes about a wide range of topics, such as politics, society, culture, sports and urban planning.[2]

He publishes a well-read column in the weekend edition FT Magazine[2] and has twice been awarded the British Society of Magazine Editors' prize for Columnist of the Year.[3][4] Kuper has also written for outlets such as The Guardian and The Times.[5]

Kuper’s unique approach to sports writing, particularly on football, has earned him several prestigious accolades, including the 1994 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. He writes about sports "from an anthropological perspective."[6] Time Magazine has called him “one of the world’s leading writers on soccer”[7] and The Economic Times labeled him “one of the world's most famous football writers.”[8]

He is the author of several books, among them the William Hill awarded Football Against the Enemy and the Sunday Times Bestseller about UK politics, Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK.

Born in Uganda to South African parents, Kuper spent most of his childhood in the Netherlands and lives in Paris.

Early life[edit]

Kuper was born in Uganda of South African-born parents, and moved to Leiden in the Netherlands as a child, where his father, Adam Kuper, was a professor in anthropology at Leiden University. He is named for his paternal grandfather, Simon Meyer Kuper, who was a South African Supreme Court judge assassinated in 1963.

He has lived in Jamaica, Sweden, Palo Alto, California, Berlin and London. He studied History and German at Oxford University, and attended Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar.[9]


Kuper joined the Financial Times in 1994. He wrote the daily currencies column and worked in other departments, before leaving the FT in 1998. He returned in 2002 as a sports columnist and has worked there ever since. Nowadays he writes a general column for the Weekend FT on all manner of topics from politics[10] to books, and on cities including London, Paris, Johannesburg and Miami.[11] Kuper has also written for The Times and The Observer, [5] ESPN,[12] and The Spectator.[13]

Kuper also writes in Dutch, and his work frequently appeared in publications including the Dutch newspapers NRC Handelsblad[14] and Het Financieele Dagblad,[15] the literary football magazine Hard Gras, and the online newspaper De Correspondent.[16]

Financial Times[edit]

Kuper is considered one of the most influential voices at the Financial Times.[17] Since joining the publication in 1994, he has held various roles, writing on a wide range of topics, from sports and popular culture to politics.[18][19]

He started his FT career as a reporter. His assignments have often taken him beyond his base in Paris, providing coverage and analysis on global events from different parts of the world.

His sportswriting is appreciated for its exploration of sports beyond mere scores and statistics, looking at the societal, political and cultural impact of sports globally. [20] Kuper discusses the culture that surrounds football — such as the Old Firm rivalry — as well as the on-field play.[21] He has written on cricket occasionally, with articles on cricket in the Netherlands[22] and cricket in apartheid South Africa.[23]

He has also contributed for many years to the FT's Weekend Magazine, as a Life & Arts columnist,[24] often with long-form essays and interviews spanning themes such as current affairs, travel, history and politics.

Kuper has twice been awarded the British Society of Magazine Editors' prize for Columnist of the Year, in 2016[3] and 2020.[4]


Kuper has written several books, starting with the William Hill awarded Football Against the Enemy (1994), which was later released in the United States as Soccer Against the Enemy.[25] The Times wrote of the book: "If you like football, read it. If you don't like football, read it."[26]

In 2003 he published his book Ajax, The Dutch, the War: Football in Europe during the Second World War. He co-authored the 2009 book Soccernomics with Stefan Szymanski. The authors subsequently put forward a formula allowing Kuper to predict that Serbia and Brazil would play the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.[27]

His book The Football Men, which was published in 2011, offered a collection of articles about the world of football over a span of 13 years, along with new pieces written specifically for this book. The Independent wrote that "Simon Kuper is a refreshing antidote to the current media obsession with 'getting the nannies [nanny goats = quotes]', however banal, from players. He doesn't mince his words: talking of past greats, he dismisses Bobby Charlton as "a dullard", Michel Platini "a weak character" and Pele "a talking puppet." [28]

Kuper's book Barça: The Rise and Fall of the Club that Built Modern Football appeared in 2021. It won the Sunday Times award for Football Book of the Year 2022.[29]

Also in 2021, Kuper released The Happy Traitor,[30] an account of the life and motivations of George Blake, a British spy for the Soviet Union. The narrative, praised for its detailed exploration and understanding of Blake's complex character, sheds light on Blake's ideological shifts and personal struggles with identity and marks a significant addition to Kuper's body of work.[31]

In 2022 he published Chums - How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK,[32][33][34] about the connections that enabled a university network to dominate Westminster.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Kuper lives in Paris with his wife, the American author Pamela Druckerman,[36] and their three children. In 2022, he wrote in the Financial Times that he had recently become a naturalized French citizen after living in Paris for more than 20 years.[37]


  • Football Against the Enemy (1994)
  • Ajax, The Dutch, The War: Football in Europe During the Second World War (2003)
  • Why England Lose: and Other Curious Phenomena Explained (2009)
  • The Football Men (2011)
  • Soccernomics (2012)
  • Barca (2021)
  • The Happy Traitor (2021)
  • Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK (2022)


  1. ^ Kuper, Simon. "Becoming French is like winning the lottery". Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Simon Kuper | Financial Times". Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b "BSME Awards 2016 – the winners". 16 November 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Awards 2020 Winners SLIDES". BSME. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  5. ^ a b Kuper, Simon (19 April 2022). "'A nursery of the Commons': how the Oxford Union created today's ruling political class". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  6. ^ A quote from the short bio next to his article ‘De Teloorgang’ in Vrij Nederland, nr. 23, 7 June 2008. Page 24.
  7. ^ Kuper, Simon (11 August 2021). "Simon Kuper". Time. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  8. ^ P, Ullekh N. (1 December 2013). "2014 FIFA World Cup: Simon Kuper, football writer, lists teams to watch out for". The Economic Times. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  9. ^ "Full List of Kennedy Scholars - Kennedy Memorial Trust". Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  10. ^ Kuper, Simon (18 September 2019). "How Oxford University shaped Brexit — and Britain's next prime minister". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  11. ^ "Simon Kuper | Financial Times". Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Kuper: Why Dutch men's team is stagnant". 11 October 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  13. ^ Kuper, Simon (29 June 2022). "The conspiracy against women's football". The Spectator. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Simon Kuper: 'Ik ben beducht voor mensen die niet kunnen luisteren'". NRC (in Dutch). 20 October 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  15. ^ "Zoekresultaten voor simon kuper | Zoeken | Het Financieele Dagblad". Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Simon Kuper - De Correspondent". (in Dutch). Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Simon Kuper". Expert Keynote and Motivational Speakers | Chartwell Speakers. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  18. ^ Kuper, Simon (16 June 2022). "Western Europe's cynicism about Ukrainian suffering". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  19. ^ Kuper, Simon (22 September 2022). "Populism isn't over. It's getting an upgrade". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  20. ^ Interview, Oxstu Profile (5 June 2023). "In conversation with Simon Kuper". The Oxford Student. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  21. ^ "No Headline Present". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  22. ^ Simon Kuper (5 March 2007). "Hail Holland, world cricket's unlikely lads". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  23. ^ Simon Kuper (6 March 2006). "All the time in the world". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  24. ^ English, Click to read this article in Spanish Click to read this article in (26 October 2020). "An Interview with Simon Kuper, Author and Life and Arts Columnist for the Financial Times". Global Americans. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  25. ^ "Football Against The Enemy: the story behind the story | Sporting Intelligence". Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  26. ^ "Football Against The Enemy: the story behind the story | Sporting Intelligence". Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  27. ^ "Formula predicts who will win". Stuff. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  28. ^ "The Football Men, by Simon Kuper". The Independent. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  29. ^ "". Twitter. Retrieved 10 July 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  30. ^ Lipman, Maria (20 April 2021). "The Happy Traitor: Spies, Lies, and Exile in Russia; The Extraordinary Story of George Blake". Foreign Affairs. No. May/June 2021. ISSN 0015-7120. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  31. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (20 March 2021). "The Happy Traitor by Simon Kuper review – the extraordinary story of George Blake". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  32. ^ Deng, Yii-Jeng (21 May 2022). "Book Review: Chums by Simon Kuper". The Oxford Student (Oxford's University's Student Newspaper).
  33. ^ Adams, Tim (1 May 2022). "Review of Chums by Simon Kuper". The Guardian.
  34. ^ Roy, Amit (30 September 2022). "Special set (review of Chums)". The Telegraph, India.
  35. ^ Moravcsik, Andrew (1 November 2022). "Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK". Foreign Affairs. No. November/December 2022. ISSN 0015-7120. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  36. ^ Shea, Christopher (16 February 2012). "The Bébé's Dad Speaks". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  37. ^ Kuper, Simon (17 March 2022). "Becoming French is like winning the lottery". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 July 2023.

External links[edit]

Preceded by William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner
Succeeded by