In the frame -- seven contenders for Illustrated Book of the Year


A wonderfully nostalgic tour of some of Britain's lost cricket rounds by the journalist Chris Arnot that probably deserves to be among the cricket books of the year and an awe-inspiring celebration of some of Europe's most challenging competitive cycle climbs are among the frontrunners for Illustrated Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2012.

The Sports Bookshelf outlines the six shortlisted titles as the build-up to the announcement of the winners in all categories continues. These will be revealed at a black tie dinner at The Savoy Hotel in London on Monday (May 21), when Nick Hornby will also be presented with an award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing’ some 20 years on from the publication of Fever Pitch.

The winners from the 10 categories will then be entered into an online public vote to find the overall British Sports Book of the Year. Each winning title will be promoted in a media and retail campaign in the run-up to Father’s Day. The public vote will held on the official website – – the overall winner will be announced on June 11.

Follow these links for a detailed review of the other shortlists:

Autobiography/Biography of the Year
Cricket Book of the Year
Football Book of the Year
Golf Book of the Year
Horse Racing Book of the Year
New Writer of the Year
Rugby Book of the Year
Motorsports Book of the Year

The full shortlist

These are the contenders for Illustrated Book of the Year

1 - Britain's Lost Cricket Grounds: The Hallowed Homes of Cricket That Will Never See Another Ball Bowled

Author: Chris Arnot
Published by: Aurum Press

From county grounds where Denis Compton hit a century to the smallest village field, Britain’s Lost Cricket Grounds shows how picturesque greenery gave way to shopping malls and housing estates.  Hastings used to have a historic ground in the middle of the town surrounded by elegant houses; it is now the site of a shopping precinct with a branch of River Island where the wicket used to be. Yorkshire used to play at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane – until the football club built grandstands over it. Guinness closed their cricket ground at Park Royal and sold it for an industrial estate. Chris Arnot listened to the reminiscences from former players and spectators, and sought out what remains of these lost venues apart from poignant photographs from their heyday.

2 - From the Boundary's Edge

Author: Laurence Griffiths
Published by: Atlantic Publishing

A magical celebration of grassroots cricket by sports photographer Laurence Griffiths, who is often to be found training his lenses on the major sporting events but who here presents a collection of images that focuses exclusively on local cricket. It gives centre stage to the amateur game and a  cast of characters that includes umpires and scorers, schoolboys in whites with cricket bags in tow, players on the field and off it, sharing laughs, searching for lost balls or putting the world to rights, all captured in pictures that require few words of explanation. From Yorkshire clubs such as Booth, Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Bradfield, and much further afield in Fife, Coniston, Bridgetown in Somerset and Lynton in Devon, it captures the very essence of a much-loved game.

3 - Great Olympic Moments

Author: Sir Steve Redgrave
Published by: Headline

Stunning, specially selected photographs accompany Sir Steve Redgrave's selection of favourite Olympic stories featuring stars of past and present including Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Nadia Comaneci, Mark Spitz, Jesse Owens, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Bob Beamon, Florence Griffiths-Joyner, Michael Johnson, Eric Liddell, Daley Thompson, Cassius Clay and Kelly Holmes. Also included are some of the more infamous moments of Olympic history, including the Black Power salutes of 1968, the Munich hostage crisis of 1972, and Ben Johnson's disqualification at Seoul 1988.  Sir Steve, the only athlete to have won gold medals in five consecutive Olympics in an endurance event, explains why he thinks each moment has such significance.

4 - Mountain High: Europe's 50 Greatest Cycle Climbs

Authors: Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding
Published by: Quercus

The first book to cover in detail Europe's 50 greatest cycle climbs, including detail of the actual routes, with maps, and compelling descriptions focussing on the main points of interest along the route. Daniel Friebe's beautifully written text explains why each mountain pass merits inclusion in the top 50 with superb descriptions of the majestic scenery, the heroic deeds of legendary riders or the sheer endeavour of reaching the summit. With over 250 illustrations taken by specialist cycling photographer Pete Goding, this guide to Europe's 50 best climbs includes Tour de France icons Alpe d'Huez, Col du Galibier and Mont Ventoux; the Passo dello Stelvio, Passo Fedaia, Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo and other summits from the Giro d'Italia; plus Spain's formidable Alto de l'Angliru and Austria's Grossglockner.


5 - The TalkSPORT 100 Greatest British Sporting Legends

Author: Bill Burrows with Tom Bailey
Published by: Simon & Schuster

A celebration of all that is best about British sport, featuring the 100 greatest sporting legends since the war, with contributions from talkSPORT presenters including Alan Brazil, Darren Gough and Stan Collymore. The listing of Britain's top sports stars includes some surprising names and will spark fierce debate about their relative merits, as record-breaking javelin thrower Steve Backley, for example, is compared with darts champion Phil Taylor, and the great football legends are arranged according to what they achieved and contributed to the game.  Each of the 100 stars is fully profiled, with surprising and fascinating information revealed about all of them, and their individual ranking in the list fully justified.

6 - When Boxing Was Boxing: A Nostalgic Look at a Century of Boxing

Author: Adam Powley
Published by: Haynes Publishing

Once upon a time, the great and the good of the fight game were the biggest stars of their day, and a major bout was a global event that captivated and enthralled people on almost every continent.  This is a photographic celebration of the sport's heyday, a beautifully illustrated tribute to an age when the noble art was a little more dignified, and a little less preoccupied with money and the politics of sport. It's about a time when there weren't quite so many governing bodies, nor multiple world 'champions' viewed only by tiny audiences on pay-per-view channels; a time when boxing was once regarded as the pinnacle of professional sporting endeavour. The book does not ignore boxing's sometimes murky past but celebrates the atmosphere, raw spectacle and sheer excitement of this most brutal yet compelling of sporting theatre.

7 - Wimbledon: Visions of the Championships

Author: Bob Martin and Ian Hewitt
Published by: Vision Sports Publishing

Wimbledon: Visions of The Championships is a breathtaking photographic celebration of the world’s oldest and most famous tennis championships.  Featuring more than 300 photographs, the book captures the people, action and moods that make up the unique character and atmosphere of Wimbledon during the magical summer fortnight when a small corner of London SW19 becomes the centre of the sporting world.  Compiled by a team led by multi-award winning sports photographer Bob Martin, it is a book bursting with images featuring the stars of the game and going behind the scenes to new and varied vantage points to tell the story of The Championships, from dawn to dusk, through the lenses of some of the world's top tennis photographers.  Author Ian Hewitt is a committee member of the All England Club.

The British Sports Book Awards also recognises the part in promoting sports books and making sure they reach the widest audience by awarding a special prize for Best Publicity Campaign, for which the contenders are:

1 - A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke, by Ronald Reng - Fiona Murphy at Vintage
2 - I'm not really here: A Life of Two Halves, by Paul Lake - Charlotte Bush & Philippa Cotton at Cornerstone
3 - Jonny: My Autobiography, by Jonny Wilkinson - Helena Towers at Headline
4 - Racing Through The Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar, by David Miller - Angela McMahon at Orion
5 - RUN! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss, by Dean Karnazes - Clare Drysdale at Allen & Unwin
6 - Why We Run, by Robin Harvie - Lyndsey Ng at John Murray



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