Titles about boxing, darts, football, golf, rugby, swimming and the Olympic Games are on the shortlist for this year’s £30,000 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
Seven books are shortlisted for the prize, which turns 30 this year, including Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian (Simon & Schuster), which is a biography of the champion golfer, and Paul Gibson’s biography of boxer Eamonn Magee, entitled The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee (Mercier Press). They are joined by the memoir The Boy on the Shed by footballer Paul Ferris (Hodder & Stoughton) and Tom Gregory’s debut A Boy in the Water (Particular Books), about how Gregory become the youngest person to swim the English Channel in 1988, aged just 11.
Also on the shortlist are Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream by Ben Ryan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Fear and Loathing on the Oche: A Gonzo Journey Through the World of Championship Darts by King ADZ (Yellow Jersey), and Berlin 1936: Sixteen Days in August by Oliver Hilmes (The Bodley Head).
Graham Sharpe, chairman of judges and co-founder of the award, said: “This has proved to be one of the most competitive renewals in the lengthy history of the Award, with 17 worthy titles vying for a place on the shortlist. We believe the resulting magnificent seven set an extraordinarily high standard, bringing a depth of insight and fresh perspective to areas of sport and sporting history so often misunderstood, misinterpreted, underestimated or overlooked in the headline-led, here today, gone tomorrow media culture. We believe readers will not only enjoy but also learn from these game-changing books as we have.”
Sharpe also pointed out the lack of female writers in the field. “At 30 years old, we’re in the unique position to look back over three decades of publishing and to see how some things have changed dramatically, and others have not - the notably small number of female authors being published in this field, for instance, across a range of sports. Whilst the breadth and scope of sports writing has undoubtedly improved, and its reception and recognition by the literary world is much changed, there are still some areas where there is significant work to be done.”
The winner will be announced at a reception at BAFTA on 27th November and will receive a £30,000 cash prize, a free £2,000 William Hill bet and a day at the races.
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