HarperCollins Publishers has acquired world rights to a book about sport and race from former journalist Derek A Bardowell following a six-way auction.
Billed as “hugely timely and important”, No Win Race aims to explore the intersections of identity and racial injustice in the UK through some of the most pivotal moments in this country’s sporting history.
The title will primarily cover the period between the Brixton Riots (1981) and Brexit (2016), exploring race and racism in modern England through the prism of sport. Bardowell uses the West Indies cricket team to explore the conflicts between colour and country, examining how London 2012 masked the racial tensions prominent after the Mark Duggan case, and looking at the Americanisation of Black-British culture through Michael Jordan and the re-emergence of athlete-activism.
HarperCollins publisher Ed Faulkner negotiated the deal for HarperNonFiction from Oli Munson at AM Heath following a "hotly contested" six-way auction. No Win Race will be published in spring 2019.
Bardowell is an ex-journalist who has worked for the BBC and contributed to Time Out, The Voice and MTV, among others. He was also director of education at the Stephen Lawrence Trust and head of programmes at Laureus Sport for Good.
He said: “I am excited to be working with Ed on an issue that affects everyone, touches on all aspects of our society and will always be timely. I love sport. But I recognised from an early age that the hostilities I faced due to the colour of my skin were also being played out in fields and arenas, and in the boardrooms and commentary boxes across the country. I am pleased that the HarperNonFiction team are backing this honest exploration of an enduring concern.”
Ed Faulkner said No Win Race “promises to be a really powerful book that will be a worthy addition to the growing canon of works which reflect the modern British BAME experience”.
He said: “What we particularly admired about Derek’s approach is his unsentimental and clear-eyed focus on an issue that affects everyone and the way he has made the discussion of race hugely accessible to a broad audience.
"Derek is a fantastic writer, with a long career ahead of him. In the current political and social climate, we need books like his more than ever and the whole team here at HarperNonFiction are thrilled to be publishing it.”