Twenty-One Nights In July

Twenty-One Nights in July
Twenty-One Nights in July

When chronic insomniac and reluctant office worker Ianto Ware went looking for answers to life’s big questions, he found them in the world’s largest bike race. Delving into the finest twenty-one stages of the Tour de France, Twenty-One Nights in July is a love letter to cycling; part history of the sport, and part philosophical treatise on the merits of the humble bicycle.

From Italian champion Gino Bartali, who took the Yellow Jersey to prevent a violent revolution, through to Tom Simpson’s last request of ‘put me back on my bike’, and Lance Armstrong’s proclamation of “I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles”, Twenty-One Nights in July unravels La Grande Boucle’s greatest stages, contests, personalities, scandals and controversies. Beyond a mere sport, this is a book on why cycling matters.

Twenty-Nights in July is available through Penguin or direct from Hunter Publishers. You should also be able to find it through independent bookstores and Dymocks.

About the Book

The first version of Twenty-One Nights in July was published as a fanzine in 2009. It was thirty-thousand words long and focused entirely on Carlos Sastre’s 2008 Tour win. The very first edition was photocopied and sold for $5, almost half what it cost to copy at Officeworks. A second version was subsequently printed semi-properly in 2010 by Format Press, a project started by Ianto and his sometime associate Stan Mahoney. Stan also wrote most of the reviews, one of which you can still read here. Somehow the book became something of a minor cult classic, driven mostly through word of mouth and occasional reviews online. When it sold out, neither Stan nor Ianto could afford to re-print it.

Under duress from Melbourne Writers’ Festival director Lisa Dempster, John Hunter of Hunter Publishers approached Ianto regarding re-publishing it. They both agreed it needed ‘significant work’. John also suggested Ianto remove the ‘sophomore humour.’ Ianto re-wrote it almost entirely, most than doubling the word length, and replacing all humour with grim historical analysis.


7 thoughts on “Twenty-One Nights In July”

  1. I just finished reading your book ‘Twenty One Nights in July’, and to be perfectly blunt I thought it was excellent. You offer a detailed history of the tour without it reading like a high-school textbook or a Wikipedia page. Your chosen format of focusing upon a particular rider/s per ‘stage’ keeps the book interesting the whole way through and I thought the anecdotes you selected were very cleverly chosen. I also enjoyed reading about your own personal experiences and beliefs when they came about. Thank-you for enhancing my experience of the Tour de France this year and I hope you continue writing on the topic.

  2. Hi,
    Just reading this thread. I have tried to purchase your book via Hunters but their website does not allow me to enter Great Britain for postal address. Penguin does not do internet sales so how do I get hold of a copy?

  3. Reading this page I realise I was the lucky owner of one of the second editions of the book, as I lived in Adelaide at the time it was published and was pretty active in cycling networks. Really enjoyed it at the time, and recommended it to a friend at the ABC who was going to interview Ianto, don’t know if that ever happened. Sadly, I’ve misplaced my copy in several house moves since … being reminded about it again now I’ll have to check out the new edition, and still hope my earlier one shows up somewhere.

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