Seven titles, including the first book on surfing to be shortlisted for the prize, are in the running for this year’s £28,000 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
Memoir Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Corsair), which has already won a Pulitzer Prize, joins Quercus’ Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty, Football’s Lost Genius by Oliver Kay in the running, alongside S&S’ Mister: The Men Who Taught the World How to Beat England at Their Own Game by Rory Smith and Darley’s Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life – A History of Racing in 25 Horses by Christopher McGrath (John Murray).
The other three shortlisted books are: Endurance: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zátopek by Rick Broadbent (Wisden); Chasing Shadows: The Life & Death of Peter Roebuck by Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge (Hardie Grant Books); and Find a Way: One Untamed and Courageous Life by Diana Nyad (Macmillan).
Graham Sharpe, William Hill spokesman and chair and co-founder of the award, said: “From an incredibly strong longlist a ‘magnificent seven’ of sporting books go forward, but from here on in the race is wide open. What is striking in this year’s selection is how the authors uncover the inner sportsman and sportswoman, revealing their hidden souls and proving that they are not just great athletes but also complex, driven people.
“These are brilliant, revelatory stories that our panel of experts will have a tough time judging.”
The judging panel this year includes broadcaster John Inverdale, journalist Mark Lawson and journalist Alyson Rudd.
As well as a £28,000 cash prize, the winner will also receive a £2,500 William Hill bet, and a day at the races.
The winner will be announced on 24th November.