William Hill Sports Book of the Year

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William Hill Sports Book of the Year
William Hill Sports Book of the Year (logo).jpg
Sponsored byWilliam Hill
CountryUnited Kingdom
Hosted byWilliam Hill
First awarded1989

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year is an annual British sports literary award sponsored by bookmaker William Hill.[1] The award is dedicated to rewarding excellence in sports writing and was first awarded in 1989.[2] As of 2016, the prize for winning the award is £28,000.[3]

Commenting on the prize's prestige, the 2005 winner Gary Imlach said "although it is a sports book prize, it has the prestige and the commercial clout to lift the winning book out of the sport section".[4]


Paul Kimmage was the first author to win both the Irish (2011) and International awards (1990).[5]

In 2010, Duncan Hamilton, a winner twice in the previous three years, was again included in the shortlist,[6] although on this occasion, when the award was announced on 30 November in London, the prize was won by Brian Moore, the former England rugby union international, for his autobiography, Beware of the Dog.[7]

In 2011, there was a "surprise inclusion" to the shortlist of Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson,[8] a biography of quadriplegic Matt Hampson, by 1990 winner Paul Kimmage, despite it not being included on the longlist.[9] The shortlist also included a book on bullfighting, Into The Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight by Alexander Fiske-Harrison, despite journalists including Fiske-Harrison himself arguing that bullfighting was not a sport, leading to the employment of security for the first time at the ceremony at Waterstones of Piccadilly.[10] In the end the prize went to A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke, about Robert Enke who committed suicide, by Ronald Reng.[11][deprecated source]


Winners of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year
Year Title Author(s) Featured subject(s) Featured sport Ref(s)
1989 True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny Dan Topolski, Patrick Robinson The Boat Race Rowing [12]
1990 Rough Ride: An Insight into Pro Cycling Paul Kimmage Paul Kimmage Cycling [13]
1991 Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times Thomas Hauser Muhammad Ali Boxing [14]
1992 Fever Pitch: A Fan's Life Nick Hornby Nick Hornby Football [15]
1993 Endless Winter: The Inside Story of the Rugby Revolution Stephen Jones Rugby football Rugby football [16]
1994 Football Against the Enemy Simon Kuper Football Football [17]
1995 A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour John Feinstein PGA Tour Golf [18]
1996 Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing Donald McRae Boxing Boxing [19][20]
1997 A Lot of Hard Yakka: Cricketing Life on the County Circuit Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Cricket [21]
1998 Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police Robert Twigger Robert Twigger Aikido [22]
1999 A Social History of English Cricket Derek Birley Cricket Cricket [23]
2000 It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins Lance Armstrong Cycling [24]
2001 Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse Laura Hillenbrand Seabiscuit Horse racing [25]
2002 In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens Donald McRae Joe Louis, Jesse Owens Athletics, Boxing [26]
2003 Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football Tom Bower Football Football [27]
2004 Basil D'Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy: the Untold Story Peter Oborne Basil D'Oliveira Cricket [28]
2005 My Father & Other Working Class Football Heroes Gary Imlach Stewart Imlach Football [29]
2006 Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson Geoffrey Ward Jack Johnson Boxing [30][31]
2007 Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough Duncan Hamilton Brian Clough Football [32][33]
2008 Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography of Marcus Trescothick Marcus Trescothick, Peter Hayter Marcus Trescothick Cricket [34]
2009 Harold Larwood Duncan Hamilton Harold Larwood Cricket [35][36]
2010 Beware of the Dog: Rugby's Hard Man Reveals All Brian Moore Brian Moore Rugby football [37][38]
2011 A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke Ronald Reng Robert Enke Football [39][40]
2012 The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs Tyler Hamilton, Daniel Coyle Tyler Hamilton, Lance Armstrong Cycling [41]
2013 Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang Jamie Reid William Roper, Micheline Lugeon Horse racing [42][deprecated source]
2014 Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sport Anna Krien "Justin Dyer" Australian rules football [43]
2015 The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football David Goldblatt Football Football [44]
2016 Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life William Finnegan William Finnegan Surfing [45]
2017 Tom Simpson: Bird on Wire Andy McGrath Tom Simpson Cycling [46]
2018 A Boy in The Water [joint winner] Tom Gregory Tom Gregory Long-distance swimming [47]
2018 The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee [joint winner] Paul D. Gibson Eamonn Magee Boxing [47]
2019 The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus Duncan Hamilton Neville Cardus Cricket [48]


  1. ^ Wyatt, Neal (2007). The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction. ALA Editions. p. 118.
  2. ^ Boyle, Raymond (2009). Power play: sport, the media and popular culture. Edinburgh University Press. p. 180.
  3. ^ "Sports Book Of The Year 2016". William Hill. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  4. ^ "William Hill Sports Book of the Year". The Times. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.(subscription required)
  5. ^ Staff writer (12 August 2011). "'Engage' takes top Irish sports book award for Hampson and Kimmage". The Score. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  6. ^ "From Agassi to Nazi, via "gonzo": prize's mixed bag « Sports Journalists' Association". Sportsjournalists.co.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Moore's raw autobiography takes Bookies' Prize". Sportsjournalists.co.uk. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  8. ^ Neill, Graeme (31 October 2011). "Kimmage surprise entry on William Hill shortlist". The Bookseller. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  9. ^ "William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award winner to be announced". The Guardian. London. 28 November 2011.
  10. ^ Fiske-Harrison, Alexander (25 November 2011). "To the Spanish bullfighting is much more than a sport". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  11. ^ "After tragedy of Speed, haunting journey of suicide keeper Enke wins literary prize". Daily Mail. London. 28 November 2011.
  12. ^ Baker, Andrew (6 April 2007). "When mutineers hit the Thames". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  13. ^ Farrand, Stephen (8 November 2010). "Paul Kimmage: 20 years on from Rough Ride". Cycling News. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  14. ^ Hauser, Thomas (4 September 2005). "The unforgiven". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Nick Hornby". British Council. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  16. ^ Cleary, Mick (21 December 2000). "A touch of Wordsworth, a blast of Springsteen". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  17. ^ "Doing their talking off the pitch". The Irish Times. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2012. Subscription required.
  18. ^ "Feinstein wins the top award". The Independent. 23 November 1995. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Donald McRae: About the author". Harper Collins. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  20. ^ Llewellyn, David (25 November 1998). "Today's Runners And Writers: The Six Shortlisted For The William Hill Sports Book Of The Year". The Independent. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  21. ^ "Simon Hughes". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  22. ^ Wallace, Sam (8 November 2001). "Tokyo's riot police ill-prepared for `anarchic potential' of England fans". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  23. ^ Lazard, Nicholas (26 July 2003). "Ah, the thwack of willow on leather". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  24. ^ "Tour de France drugs exposé wins William Hill". The Daily Telegraph. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  25. ^ "Seabiscuit wins by a short head". The Guardian. 27 November 2001. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Top 50 sports books: The countdown: 26-50". The Observer. 8 May 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  27. ^ "S&S lands Hill double." The Bookseller, 28 November 2003: 6. General OneFile. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  28. ^ "Book on D'Oliveira wins award". BBC News. 29 November 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  29. ^ Weaver, Paul (21 November 2005). "Tale of injustice that prompted a son to shine". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  30. ^ "Johnson biog named book of year". BBC News. 27 November 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  31. ^ Baker, Andrew (28 November 2006). "Johnson's tale floors five rivals". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  32. ^ Simon Redfern (9 December 2007). "Provided You Don't Kiss Me, by Duncan Hamilton". The Independent. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  33. ^ Dugdale, John (28 November 2007). "The week in books". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  34. ^ Baker, Andrew (24 November 2008). "Marcus Trescothick autobiography wins William Hill Sports Book of the Year award". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  35. ^ Baker, Andrew (26 November 2009). "Duncan Hamilton wins William Hill Book of the Year Award for Harold Larwood biography". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  36. ^ "Harold Larwood biography wins William Hill prize for Hamilton". The Guardian. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  37. ^ "Former British Lions hooker Brian Moore wins sports book of the year". The Guardian. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  38. ^ Briggs, Simon (30 November 2010). "Telegraph Sport columnist Brian Moore wins William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award for Beware of the Dog". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  39. ^ Bagchi, Rob (28 November 2011). "Eloquent and sensitive story does justice to Robert Enke and his illness". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  40. ^ Briggs, Simon (28 November 2011). "Ronaldo Reng's biography of German goalkeeper Robert Enke 'A Life Too Short' named Sports Book of the Year". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  41. ^ Ingle, Sean (26 November 2012). "The Secret Race wins William Hill Sports Book of the Year for 2012". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  42. ^ Brennan, Rob (27 November 2013). "Reid's 'Doped' wins the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  43. ^ Dugdale, John (27 November 2014). "Anna Krien's Night Games wins sports book of the year prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  44. ^ Dugdale, John (27 November 2015). "Sports book of the year brings ray of sunshine to the William Hill prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  45. ^ "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life wins 28th William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award". William Hill. 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  46. ^ Sharpe, Graham (29 November 2017). "Andy McGrath's 'Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire' wins 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year". SBC News. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  47. ^ a b Ingle, Sean (27 November 2018). "William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize shared for first time in 30 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  48. ^ Briggs, Simon (6 December 2019). "Neville Cardus's spirit oversees Duncan Hamilton's third William Hill Sports Book of the Year". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2019.

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