SJA members among contenders for book prize

Several SJA members figure in the long list for the 2009 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, with its £25,000 first prize, the richest award of its type anywhere in the world.

Among those in the running in 2009 are two previous winners.

Duncan Hamilton – who won in 2007 with his widely acclaimed Brian Clough memoir Provided You Don’t Kiss Me – is on the long list this time with his biography of Harold Larwood, The world’s fastest bowler (Quercus).

Financial Times sportswriter Simon Kuper, who won in 1994 with his first book, is back among the contenders again, after co-authoring, with Stefan Szymanski, Why England Lose – And Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained (Harper) – a book one assumes was commissioned before Fabio Capello was appointed by the FA.

The former assistant sports editor of The Observer, Jon Henderson, is on the long list for his The Last Champion: The life of Fred Perry (Yellow Jersey Press).

Henderson’s previous colleague, Kevin Mitchell, operating under the same publishing imprint, is also long-listed for his Jacob’s Beach: The Mob, The Garden and the Golden Age of Boxing.

Other notables on the list include Ian Hawkey, the Sunday Times‘s international soccer writer, who is listed for Feet of the Chameleon: The story of African football (Portico), alongside with Times sportswriter Rick Broadbent with Ring of Fire: The inside story of Valentino Rossi and MotoGP (Bantam).

The prize was won last year by former England Test cricketer Marcus Trescothick and his “autobiography”, Coming Back to Me, written with SJA member Peter Hayter.

All of the 2009 long-listed authors receive a £250 free bet from the competition sponsors.

The judges, John Gaustad, Danny Kelly, Alyson Rudd, John Inverdale and Hugh McIlvanney, will have whittled down their favoured books to a shortlist by October 15, with the winner announced at Waterstone’s, Piccadilly, on November 26.

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SJA members can cast their votes for the Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year by clicking here.