The 2016 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award longlist announced

22 September 2016

By Pan Macmillan

We're delighted to annouce that Damon Hill, Anna Kessel and Diana Nyad have been longlisted for the 2016 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award — the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. 

Damon Hill's autobiography Watching the Wheels tells the story of his journey through the last golden era of the sport when he took on the greats including Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher and emerged victorious as World Champion in 1996, stepping out of the shadow of his legendary father Graham Hill.

From the launch of Net-A-Sporter, serving up sports clothing for fashionistas, to the introduction of #plankie as the new Instagram selfie for yoga bunnies; exercise for women has finally gone mainstream. Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel is an engaging and inspirational story of how women are finally reclaiming sport and, by extension, their own bodies.

In September 2013, after four failed attempts and at the age of sixty-four, Diana Nyad completed the crossing between Cuba and the Florida Keys after two days and two nights of continuous swimming – 53 consecutive hours, 110 miles. Find a Way is a dramatic, page-turning account of the epic endurance quest that led to that moment.
William Hill Media Relations Director and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said: “I’ve heard it said that 2016 is shaping up to be one of sports’ most exciting years. I’d add to that – I think this year can claim to be one of sports writing’s greatest years: this longlist is truly exceptional. We received 140 entries – a record for the Award – and it was tougher than ever to get down to this selection. It’s clear that the era of the macho facts and stats sports memoir is over and the evolution of sports writing continues; more than ever, this Award proves that sports writing is great writing – revelatory, compelling and important.”

The books on the 2016 longlist cover nine different sports in total. Also competing in this year’s 17-strong longlist:

Today We Die a Little: The Rise & Fall of Emil Zátopek, Olympic Legend by Richard Askwith (Yellow Jersey Press)

No Nonsense: The Autobiography by Joey Barton, with Michael Calvin (Simon & Schuster)

Endurance: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Emil Zátopek by Rick Broadbent (Wisden)

Football’s Coming Out: Life as a Gay Fan and Player by Neil Beasley with Seth Burkett (Floodlit Dreams)

'How’s Your Dad?’: Embracing Failure in the Shadow of Success by Mick Channon Jr (Racing Post Books)

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Corsair)

For the Glory: The Life of Eric Liddell by Duncan Hamilton (Doubleday)

Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty, Football’s Lost Geniusby Oliver Kay (Quercus)

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight (Simon & Schuster)

Chasing Shadows: The Life & Death of Peter Roebuck by Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge (Hardie Grant Books)

The Belt Boy by Kevin Lueshing and Mike Dunn (Austin Macauley Publishers)

Mr Darley’s ArabianHigh Life, Low Life, Sporting Life – A History of Racing in 25 Horses by Christopher McGrath (John Murray)

Mister: The Men Who Taught the World How to Beat England at Their Own Game by Rory Smith (Simon & Schuster)

We Had Some Laughs: My Dad, The Darts and Me by Dan Waddell (Bantam Press) 

The shortlist will be announced on 18 October 2016. The winner will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Thursday 24 November 2016.

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