Longlist Revealed For The William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2023 Award – including Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Unbreakable

Posted on: 29 September 2023

Last edited on: 29 September 2023

Longlist Revealed For The William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2023 Award – and £30,000 Top Prize

·        18 books selected for the longlist including current professional snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, and three-time winner Duncan Hamilton 

·        13 different sports featured including two fiction books

·        100% growth for longlisted female authors

The longlist for the 35th William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award – the world’s most valuable literary sports-writing prize – has been revealed today (Thursday 28th September), featuring a diverse selection of sports from squash and snooker to swimming and surfing.

The 18-book longlist was selected from more than 150 entries following a rigorous judging process from a panel with expertise in both sports and literature including The Athletic’s Nancy Froston, sports presenter Matt Williams and William Hill’s Neil Foggin.

Books making this year’s longlist celebrate a diverse world of sports literature, covering tales and insight from 13 different sports. From gripping memoirs to thrilling narratives and insightful analysis from some of the most compelling sporting stars, the longlisted books have one common thread: a profound passion for sports and sporting literature.

Six female authors make this year’s cut, doubling the number from previous years.

Three-time William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner Duncan Hamilton is in the running for this year’s Award, alongside arguably one of the greatest snooker players of all time, Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2023 Longlist (alphabetical by author surname):

·                  1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession by Ned Boulting  

·                  Hope and Glory: Rugby League in Thatcher’s Britain by Anthony Broxton  

·                  Inshallah United: A Story of Faith and Football by Nooruddean Choudry  

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

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

·                  The Silence of the Stands: Finding the Joy in Football’s Lost Season by Daniel Gray

·                  Answered Prayers: England and the 1966 World Cup by Duncan Hamilton

·                  Tinseltown: Hollywood and the Beautiful Game – a Match Made in Wrexham by Ian Herbert

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

·                  Nazaré: Life and Death with the Big Wave Surfers by Matt Majendie 

·                  Western Lane by Chetna Maroo

·                  The Hard Parts: A Story of Courage and Triumph by Oksana Masters 

·                  Unbreakable by Ronnie O’Sullivan 

·                  Concussed: Sport’s Uncomfortable Truth by Sam Peters

·                  On Days Like These: The Lost Memoir of a Goalkeeper by Tim Rich

·                  Nowhere to Run: The Ridiculous Life of a Semi-Professional Football Club Chairman by Jonathan Sayer

·                  Kick The Latch by Kathryn Scanlan

·                  The Tour: The Story of the England Cricket Team Overseas 1877 – 2023 by Simon Wilde 

Award panellist and renowned sports broadcaster, Matt Williams said: “This year’s longlist showcases the diversity of sports and the many ways in which they inspire, entertain, and unite communities.

“We received an unprecedented number of outstanding entries from talented authors this year, including a high volume of contributions from both female authors and international writers. Whittling these down was no small feat, resulting in an historic moment for the Awards as we reveal a list of 18 longlisted books, which encompasses fiction and non-fiction. 

“These remarkable titles explore the depths of sportsmanship, triumphs and challenges across the sporting industry including sexism, and the devastating effects that head injuries have on sportspeople. All the longlisted books not only have a great story to tell but their writing captivates the reader and is the best in sporting literature.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading so many inspirational books from the most talented of authors and I’m excited to see which of the 18 books comes out on top.”

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 book. 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 shortlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2023 Award will be unveiled on 26th October, with the winner 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.

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