Sports writer, journalist and co-founder of Women in Football

Anna Kessel is a sports journalist, acclaimed author and vocal campaigner on equality in sport.

A rare example of a female journalist in her field, Anna published Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Your Life (Macmillan) in 2016, a passionate polemic aimed at bringing sport to the female masses..

A Guardian and Observer journalist since 2004, Anna has covered three Olympic Games, several World Cups, Euros and World Championships, and interviewed some of the biggest stars in global sport.

Co-founder and chair of Women in Football (WiF), an organization lobbying against sexism in the game and championing female role models, The Independent described her as a “fearless adversary of sexism” in their list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Sport.

In 2016 Anna was awarded an MBE for services to journalism and women in sport.

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Part manifesto, part memoir, part how to, Eat Sweat Play is feminism on wheels (a bike), kicking sport right in the (foot)balls...Kessel makes a compelling, thought-provoking case for sport as a route towards equality (and the current culture in sport as a stumbling block). I think she’s right. 

Lauren Laverne
The Pool on Eat Sweat Play

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As Stylist’s Fair Game campaign has highlighted for the past four years, women and men are not on a level playing field when it comes to sport – which makes Guardian sports writer Kessel’s new book a breath of fresh air. A piercing call to arms, she argues that if women and girls embrace being active, it will lead to a sea change for women’s bodies, self image and outlook. It is brilliant.

Francesca Brown
Stylist on Eat Sweat Play

This is a book for all women. It challenges the very idea that some women like sport but most hate it. Not in a condescending way, but through the most comprehensive analysis of women’s relationship to sport, and their bodies in that context, that I’ve come across. It champions fun and the other adrenaline-fueled feelings that sport gives you.

Suzanne Beishon
Morning Star on Eat Sweat Play

I want to thank Anna Kessel for writing Eat Sweat Play. It is not just an accessible, incredibly funny and searingly honest look at women and sport, and it is not just a highly irreverent, against-the-grain, taboo-breaking wonder of a book, it is that rare thing: genuinely empowering for women.

Sally Campbell
Waterstones Blog on Eat Sweat Play

Every so often a book comes along that changes the way you think. Eat Sweat Play is one of those books.Bold and brave, it’s a beautiful read, with author Anna Kessel, a Guardian and Observer sports writer, emerging as a modern-day Roberta Gibb.

Paul Brown
Sports Journalists' Association on Eat Sweat Play