William Hill announces 2015 ‘Sports Book of the Year’ shortlist


William Hill has announced the six books that will compete for its £27,000 ‘Sports Book of the Year Award’ at BAFTA London on the 27 November.

The shortlist sees Guardian journalist Donald McRae aiming to win the literary prize for a record third time with boxing biography Man’s World’: The Double Life of Emile Griffith. McRae won previously in 1996 for “Dark Trade”: Lost in Boxing and in 2002 for “In Black and White”: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens.

The boxing author, faces competition from fellow Guardian writer Andy Bull, who has been nominated for Speed Kings which recounts the very dangerous 1932 Lake Placid Olympic bobsledding events.

The sport of cricket will be represented by Simon Lister’s ‘Fire in Babylon’, which explores cricket’s past in the West Indies under British Colonialism.

Football dominates this year’s shortlist, with three titles nominated. William Hill has selected Martin Fletcher’s ‘Fifty Six’ which investigates the tragic Bradford City stadium fire of 1985 which killed 56 people.

Michael Calvin’s ‘Living on the Volcano’ details life’s up and downs as a football manager.

The third football nominee sees David Goldblatt’s ‘The Game of Our Lives’ in-depth look at how modern English football has changed and developed into a global business, and its impact on wider society.

William Hill spokesman and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said:

“Five brave writers are stepping into the ring with Donald McRae but the outcome is far from certain. These books represent non-fiction writing at its best, with truly exceptional writers casting light on stories of triumph and tragedy from the world of sport. Our judges have a tough job ahead of them.”

The judging panel for this year’s Award consists of: retired professional footballer and former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ 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.

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