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Five books shortlisted for the world’s most valuable literary sports-writing prize

Following a rigorous judging process lasting three months, five books – from a record 158 entries – have been shortlisted for the 2022 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.

The world’s most valuable literary sports-writing prize, which includes a £30,000 cash prize for the winner, will be contested by five authors:

• Be Good, Love Brian: Growing Up with Brian Clough by Craig Bromfield

• God is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling’s Great Wasted Talent by Andy McGrath

• My Hidden Race by Anyika Onuora

• Expected Goals: The Story of how Data Conquered Football and Changed the Game Forever by Rory Smith

• Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete, Beryl Burton by Jeremy Wilson

This year, organisers received a record 158 entries, judged over three months to arrive at today’s shortlist.

The five books, with topics ranging from football and cycling to athletics, will now be put forward to a panel of judges, Chaired by The Times’ Sports Writer, Alyson Rudd.

Retired track and field Olympian, Anyika Onuora, would become the first female ex-sports star to win the Award. Her book, My Hidden Race, is an honest and eye-opening account of her career and her challenges facing racism and sexual assault.

Two football books make the shortlist: Be Good, Love Brian: Growing Up with Brian Clough by Craig Bromfield, a remarkable and heart-breaking story about two brothers, who football manager Brian Clough adopted to escape their abusive father; and Expected Goals: The Story of how Data Conquered Football and Changed the Game Forever by Rory Smith, a dive into how data has transformed football.

Cycling proved to be a popular topic this year, with two books also making the shortlist: Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete, Beryl Burton by Jeremy Wilson, a journalist’s search for Britain’s best athlete; and God is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling’s Great Wasted Talent by Andy McGrath which looks at the rise and tragic fall of the controversial cyclist.

Chair of the judges’ panel for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, Alyson Rudd, said: “Following a record-breaking year for the Award, we now have five incredible books on the shortlist. To make it to this stage, ahead of 150 other entrants, really is a first-class achievement for the authors and we’re now faced with the very difficult task of finding a winner from a group of impressive and extremely well written books.

“It is great to see two first-time authors on the shortlist alongside two former shortlisted authors – one of whom won the Award – which will provide inspiration and encouragement for budding writers.

“This literary Award is steeped in sporting history, and I’m thrilled to be now joining my fellow judges as we read, debate and – eventually – agree upon a winner for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2022.”

Now in its 34th year, the 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. Since launching, it has attracted thousands of authors and publishers including, Nick Hornby, Marcus Trescothick and Brian Moore, and last year’s winner Michael Holding and three-time winner Duncan Hamilton.

The winner will be declared on 1 December 2022 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 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and to enter, please visit: https://news.williamhill.com/sport/sports-book-of-the-year/

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