Today the starting line-up was revealed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, aka ‘the Bookie Prize’, which is the richest sports book prize – and we’re proud to announce that Mark Turley’s Journeymen has been nominated for the longlist.
Books which focus on the often brutal and corrupt dark side of sport – including one on the trial of the Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, and another on the recent FIFA scandals – make up nearly one third of the longlist of the 27th William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. In A Man’s World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith, Donald McRae, who faces the possibility of a record third win, explores the boxer’s long career, the homophobia he faced and his struggle to come to terms with the death of an opponent following their last, terrible fight.
Those competing with McRae for the Award, the most prestigious of its kind, include: Journeymen: The Other Side of the Boxing Business by Mark Turley, which tells the story of the modern-day boxers who lose for a living, over and over again; Fifty-Six: The Story of the Bradford Fire by Martin Fletcher, a survivor of the disaster that killed his father, brother, uncle and grandfather, and which was never properly explained; The Trials of Oscar Pistorius – Chase Your Shadow by John Carlin; and Heidi Blake & Jonathan Calvert’s The Ugly Game: The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup, which sheds new insight into the revelations that shook the football world to its core.
Though the books on this year’s longlist cover eight different sports in total, titles about football are prevalent. As well as The Ugly Game and Fifty-Six, football is the subject of both Living on the Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager by Michael Calvin, and The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football by David Goldblatt.
The longlist in full (alphabetically by author’s surname):
- The Ugly Game: The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup by Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert (Simon & Schuster)
- Speed Kings by Andy Bull (Bantam Press)
- Living on the Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager by Michael Calvin (Century)
- The Trials of Oscar Pistorius: Chase Your Shadow by John Carlin (Atlantic Books)
- Kings of the Road: A Journey into the Heart of British Cycling by Robert Dineen (Aurum Press)
- A King in Hiding: How a Child Refugee Became a World Chess Champion by Fahim, Sophie Le Callennec, Xavier Parmentier and Barbara Mellor (translator) (Icon)
- Fifty-Six: The Story of the Bradford Fire by Martin Fletcher (Bloomsbury)
- The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football by David Goldblatt (Viking)
- Runner: A Short Story About A Long Run by Lizzy Hawker (Aurum Press)
- Fire in Babylon by Simon Lister (Yellow Jersey)
- A Man’s World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith by Donald McRae (Simon & Schuster)
- The Bolt Supremacy by Richard Moore (Yellow Jersey)
- My Fight/Your Fight: The Official Ronda Rousey Autobiography by Ronda Rousey and Maria Burns Ortiz (Century)
- Journeymen: The Other Side of the Boxing Business by Mark Turley (Pitch)
Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Journeymen: The Other Side of the Boxing Business.
William Hill Media Relations Director and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said: “Never let it be said sportswriters shy away from difficult subjects. In this longlist, our authors shine their floodlights into many of sport’s dark corners, but also find inspirational tales of individual and team success. While football is the most written about subject, it is wonderful to see areas less widely covered - endurance running, bobsledding and chess, whose status as a sport may provoke some debate - included. These books deserve a wide audience – I hope their inclusion here helps them find it.”
The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £27,000 cash prize, the winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, a leather-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races. The judging panel for this year’s Award consists of: retired professional footballer and former chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association, Clarke Carlisle; broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; broadcaster Danny Kelly; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd. Chairman of the judging panel is John Gaustad, co-creator of the Award and founder of the Sportspages bookshop.
The shortlist will be announced on 27th October. The winner will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Thursday 26th November.