Female Writers Dominate William Hill Sports Book of the Year

William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award
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For the first time in its history, 4 of the 6 shortlisted books written by female authors

For the first time in its history, books by female authors dominate the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award shortlist. Following an independent judging process by a panel of experts in sports and journalism, four of the six are titles written by women, the highest percentage of female finalists since the competition started in 1989.

The Award, which is the world’s most valuable and longest-running sports writing prize, includes a £30,000 cash prize for the winner, and will be contested by six authors:

·                  Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs

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·                  Concussed: Sport’s Uncomfortable Truth by Sam Peters

·                  Good for a Girl: My Life Running in a Man’s World by Lauren Fleshman

·                  Kick The Latch by Kathryn Scanlan

·                  Unbreakable by Ronnie O’Sullivan 

·                  Unfair Play: The Battle for Women’s Sport by Sharron Davies with Craig Lord

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Independently judged by a panel of experts, led for the fifth year by award-winning sports journalist, Alyson Rudd, the diverse six-book shortlist was selected from more than 150 entries, and has titles that cover snooker, rugby, tennis, and athletics, including one fictional novel set in the world of horse-racing.

Lauren Fleshman

New York Times bestseller, Good for a Girl: My Life Running in a Man’s World by Lauren Fleshman; biography Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs; former Olympic swimmer, Sharron Davies and her book, Unfair Play: The Battle for Women’s Sport; and novel Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan, are shortlisted and in with a chance of becoming the Award’s third female winner.

Sharron Davies

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan is also shortlisted for his honest and hypnotic autobiography, Unbreakable. Journalist Sam Peters, who fearlessly brings to light the devastating effects that head injuries have on sportspeople, particularly rugby players, in his balanced and eloquently written book, Concussedcompletes the list.

Chair of the judges’ panel for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, Alyson Rudd, said:

“This is arguably the most exciting shortlist in the history of the award. It has something for everyone, and the quality is exceptionally high. There is a way above average autobiography in the form of the page turner that is Ronnie O’Sullivan’s book and a compelling biography of Althea Gibson, the tennis pioneer too few sports fans know about. Sam Peters, meanwhile, bravely and eloquently details how concussion has blighted rugby. 

“At long last women are being commissioned to write about sport and this is reflected in the fact that four of the shortlisted authors are female and two of them, Sharron Davies and Lauren Fleshman, have produced books that cut, courageously, to the heart of the challenges facing women’s sport. And, finally, Kathryn Scanlan has summoned a genre busting book that captures the raw energy of sporting passion.” 

Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan

Now in its 35th year, the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is dedicated to rewarding excellence in sports writing and provides authors and publishers a platform to showcase and promote their books. The first William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award took place in 1989, earning it the title of the longest-established competition in the industry.

The winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2023 Award will be declared on 30th November 2023 at an official award ceremony at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London. The Award has a £30,000 cash prize for the winner and the shortlisted authors will each receive £3,000 and a leather-bound copy of their book.

For more information about the visit William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award webpage.

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