Duncan Hamilton has become the first person to win the William Hill Sports Book of the Year three times after he scooped the 2019 prize for The Great Romantic (Hodder & Stoughton).
Hamilton was named the winner of £30,000 at a ceremony in the Horseguards Hotel, London, today (5th December). He previously won in 2007 for Provided You Don’t Kiss Me (Harper Perennial) and 2009 for Harold Larwood (Quercus).
The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus is Hamilton’s comprehensive biography of the venerated sports writer and music journalist. Hamilton reveals how Cardus changed sports journalism for ever, introducing “poise and eloquence into what had traditionally been a prosaic experience for both journalist and fan”.
Alyson Rudd, chair of judges, said: “The judges were bowled over by the quality of the writing and the way in which Hamilton brings to life the characters that defined cricket between the two world wars. The author explains that Neville Cardus was unknowable but this book does a very fine job indeed of guiding us through his career and motivations.”
He saw off a shortlist featuring The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn (Faber), In Sunshine or in Shadow by two-time winner Donald McRae (Hodder), Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer (PRH), Commander in Cheat by Rick Reilly (Headline) and Position of Trust by Andy Woodward (Hodder).
This year’s prize was judged by Times sportswriter and novelist Rudd alongside journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson, retired footballer Clarke Carlisle, Olympic medallist and chair of UK Sport Katherine Grainger, presenter John Inverdale and broadcaster Danny Kelly.
The shortlisted authors each received £3,000 cash and a leather-bound copy of their book. Judges this year reviewed a record 151 entries, covering a multitude of sports including cricket, golf, football, boxing, horse riding, ultra-running and more.