The William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2014
Held at British Academy of Film and Television Art, Piccadilly, London
The winner is:
NIGHT GAMES: Sex, Power And A Journey Into The Dark Heart of Sport by Anna Krien
In Night Games (published by Yellow Jersey Press), Anna Krien follows the rape trial of a young Australian Rules footballer, taking a balanced look at the dark side of sport culture – the world of Sam Newman, Ricky Nixon, Matty Johns and the Cronulla Sharks. Both a courtroom drama and a work of narrative journalism, this is a closely observed book about sex, consent and power.
The judges said of Night Games:
Sometimes a book just stops you in your tracks – this did. A painstaking, intelligent and open-minded examination of an immensley complicated area, providing constant, and salutary, reminders that there are no easy answers here. The Ched Evans case gives it an eerie pertinence.
As well as a £26,000 cheque, Krien was awarded a William Hill bet worth £2,500, a leather hand-bound copy of her book, and an exclusive day at the races. She now joins an illustrious list of past winners, including Nick Hornby, Duncan Hamilton, Donald McRae and Paul Kimmage.
Short Listed Titles:
Bobby Moore : The Man in Full by Matt Dickinson, Yellow Jersey Press
More successful than any previous book written about one of England’s greatest footballers in illuminating a personality that remained enigmatic even to most of those closely associated with him.
Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport by Rob Steen, Bloomsbury
A big book, but it’s a massive project; a dense read perhaps, but it’s magisterial. It includes almost everything we know about sports, and the thematic structure makes for illuminating juxtapositions. Happily it’s lightened throughout by a playful sense of humour; knowing little quips abound.
PROUD: My Autobiography by Gareth Thomas and Michael Calvin, Ebury Press
A piercingly honest account of a life, reminding us that while we may sometimes feel we know the sports stars we seek week-in week-out, in fact we scarcely know them at all. The journey is emotional, the turmoil palpable, and the result ground breaking.
Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play by Simon Inglis, published by English Heritage
Meticulously researched, scrupulously detailed, wonderfully illustrated, and endlessly fascinating, with a surprise on every page. A box of treasures, it makes you look at London with new eyes.
Run or Die by Kilian Jornet, published by Viking
With its seductive fluid, tangential style, this is a beautifully written insight into the mind not only of an ultra-distance runner, but also of a driven perfectionist prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals.
Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry by Bill Jones, published by Bloomsbury
Elegantly and crisply written, this book tells the truly compelling story of Curry’s tormented life, his long struggle to succeed on his own terms, and the poignant aftermath to his Olympic glory.
Look out for the forthcoming On Camera interviews with Vernon Grant and the short listed authors.