The shortlist for the 26th annual William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award has been announced in a briefing that took place on 24th October, 2014. The event is sponsored by William Hill, one of the leading bookmakers in the world. The award is open to any full-length book that delves into the life of a predominantly sporting personality. William Hill Sports Book Awards stands out as one of the most valuable and longest running sports writing prize competitions; the first award ceremony was held in 1989. The bookmaker announced that this year’s winner will receive £26,000 in cash; the winning author will also receive a William Hill bet worth £2,500, in addition to race tickets and a hand-bound copy of their written book. Both the shortlisted and long-listed candidates will receive awards; the shortlisted will each receive a cash prize of £3,000, a free William Hill bet worth £1,000 and a leather-bound copy of their book. The winners will be announced in London, during the BAFTA reception, to be held on 27th November.
This year, the shortlist for William Hill Sports Book has 7 titles, which is one more than the usual 6 titles. The reasons the organizer’s advance for the extra entry, is because of the high quality of competition on parade. During this year’s event, books from sports such as about Aussie Rules and figure skating will be making a début. According to Calvinayre.com, the complete shortlisted of authors and their books are as follows: Rob Steen for “Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectacular Sport”, Gareth Thomas for “Proud”, Matt Dickenson for “Bobby Moore: the Man in Full” and Bill Jones, the author of the book “Alone”. The other shortlisted candidates are; Kilian Journet for “Run or Die”, Simon Inglis for “Played in London” and Anna Kriens for “Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey”. The high achieving sporting personalities featuring in this year’s Sports book list includes; John Curry, Gareth Thomas, Kilian Journet and Bobby Moore. John Curry was an iconic skater, his biography; “Alone” is written by Bill Jones, a renowned documentary producer.
Gareth Thomas is a Welsh rugby star; he is the first professional athlete to make it to the prestigious list, whilst still actively playing. Kilian Journet Burgada is the Spanish 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the year and an endurance athlete; his autobiography is titled “Run or Die”. The autobiography charts Jornets journey from when he was 18-month old, until the day he became fastest individual to climb and descend Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. Bobby Moore on the other hand, is a football great and legend. Matt Dickenson biography; “Bobby Moore: the Man in Full” extracts the dark and checkered history behind the athlete, who was once the English World Cup football captain. The other authors shortlisted for the big prize include Rob Steen, Anna Krien and Simon Inglis. The long-list for the 2014 William Hill Sportsbook Award consists of 15 books and autobiographies; among them is the no-holds barred autobiography of the boxing great, Mike Tyson. The book is titled “Undisputed truth”.
During the shortlist unveiling ceremony, Graham Sharpe, the co-founder and spokesman for William Hill announced that, the 2014 list went deeper into exploring the individual struggles and triumphs of the athletes. The judging panel also performed a thorough analysis of the dark side of sports as well as the social stories behind the successes. The stories were then compiled and presented in a highly captivating sport writing style. The award judging panel is made up of a bench that consist of the following prominent personalities; Clark Carlisle, former chairman of the professional Footballers Association (PFA); John Inverdale, a writer and broadcaster; Alyson Rudd, columnist and author and broadcaster Danny Kelly. The other names in the panel include; John Gaustad, chairman of the judging panel and founder of Sports Pages Bookshop and Hugh Mcllvanney an award winning journalist.