Tim Koch writes from London:
The prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year is an annual British award for excellence in sports writing. This year’s prize is open to any full-length book on a predominantly sporting subject published for the first time in the UK between 28 September 2012 and 27 September 2013. It started in 1989 when the winner was True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Dan Topolski and Patrick Robinson.
A book on rowing has not won since but this year there is a strong contender that has made it from the ‘longlist’ of seventeen to the shortlist of six: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. As our review shows, it is already the HTBS Book of the Year.
A William Hill spokesman said: “As befits the 25th anniversary of the world’s undisputed finest award for sports books and their authors, I do not believe we have previously seen a year produce such an abundance of top quality titles. The judges face their toughest task yet in initially creating a shortlist then deciding on a winner—which will have beaten a classic field to be declared champion”.
The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’ arts programme on Wednesday 27 November at 7.15 p.m. GMT.
The shortlist in full:
The Boys In The Boat: An Epic True-Life Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin, Daniel James Brown (Macmillan)
The Sports Gene: What Makes The Perfect Athlete, David Epstein (Yellow Jersey Press)
Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld, Ed Hawkins (Bloomsbury)
I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Lagercrantz and Ruth Urbom (Penguin)
Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang, Jamie Reid (Racing Post)
Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong, David Walsh (Simon & Schuster)
*Bookie: Slang for one who takes bets such as the sponsors, William Hill PLC.
The winner is…… Jamie Reid’s Doped. Extracts from the six shortlisted books are here.