Rob Burrow’s ‘Too Many Reasons to Live’ book has been nominated for Sports Book of the Year Shortlist. Six authors have been shortlisted for the 33rd annual William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the world’s oldest and richest sports literary prize and not a single finalist has won the award before.
The brilliant shortlist announced today (Thursday 28th October) has been selected by an expert panel of judges led by chair Alyson Rudd, from a long list of 15 announced in September.
“We have a splendidly diverse shortlist that encompasses brain trauma and racism, two of the problems sport is grappling with right now, an iconic moment in rugby, the pull of Everest, an unsung female hero and the fight against adversity. The six excellent titles offer fine writing, compelling narratives, pull at the heart strings and, most importantly, ask questions of their readership.”, said Rudd
This year’s six shortlisted authors have been carefully chosen from 143 entries and includes some amazing stories of courage, hope and eye-opening insights into several different sports.
Following Grigory Rodchenkov’s win in 2020, organisers are looking forward to naming a new winner and judges now have their work cut out deciding on a brand-new first-time winner with no past victors featured on the shortlist.
This is the second successive shortlist not featuring any football-related titles, and the only previous time that had happened was in 1996. Football-themed books have been the most frequent winners – seven of them. However, there have been five previous boxing-related winners, five cricket-related winners and two rugby union-related winners.
Rob Burrows’ Too Many Reasons to Live is his inspirational memoir, documenting the Rugby League star’s battle with motor neurone disease and the incredible courage and resilience he has shown to keep fighting to the very end. Rugby is a continued theme this year, with Rugby Union also featured with authors Tom English and Peter Burns and This is Your Everest, telling the amazing story of the 1997 British Lions tour of South Africa.
Jamaican commentator and former cricketer Michael Holding also makes the shortlist with Why We Kneel, How We Rise focusing on racism and discrimination in sport. The book provides a powerful look at the history of racism through the prism of sport, showing how we can change things through education and understanding.
Boxing writer turned author Tris Dixon uncovers the difficult truths of boxing and chronic traumatic encephalopathy in his book Damage and chronicles the lives of fighters affected by it. He interviews some of the sport’s biggest names, some lesser-known journeymen, and highly respected trainers calling for the sport to address the issue.
Sasha Abramsky’s Little Wonder is a fantastic biography of a remarkable unsung female sporting hero, Little Wonder chronicles the story of athlete Lottie Dod – a Victorian champion tennis player, golfer, hockey player, mountaineer and archer. Abramsky brings Lottie’s pioneering achievements back into the public eye.
Ed Caesar’s amazing tale of little-known World War I veteran Maurice Wilson completes the shortlist with The Moth and The Mountain. Maurice had no knowledge of climbing and barely knew how to fly, but conceived a plan to fly a Gipsy Moth aeroplane from England to Everest all utterly alone. The book tells the story of his vision to become the first man to stand on top of the world.
Last year’s grand prize winner, Grigory Rodchenkov took the top honours for his memoir The Rodchenkov Affair: How I Brought Down Putin’s Secret Doping Empire. The former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory was in hiding since his participation in Bryan Fogel’s documentary “Icarus”, in which he revealed the true extent of the Russian doping scandal.
Other famous authors & sportsman to have won the award include three-time winner Duncan Hamilton, Nick Hornby, Brian Moore, Marcus Trescothick, and two-time winner Donald McRae.
The official awards ceremony will be held at BAFTA on Thursday 2nd December. The winning author will take home the £30,000 cash prize and trophy, while shortlisted authors will each receive £3,000 and a leather-bound copy of their book.