Showing posts from November, 2014

Controversial Night Games by Anna Krien is 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year

Night Games, a controversial investigation into the ritual abuse of women embedded in Australian sport, has been named the winner of the 26th William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, the richest and most prestigious literary sports writing prize in the world. Described by the judges as a ‘painstaking, intelligent, but above all, open-minded examination of an immensely complicated area’,  Night Games  follows the trial of an Australian Rules footballer player accused of rape, the outcome of which led author Anna Krien to consider what she describes as the ‘grey area’ of sexual consent. Alyson Rudd, the Times journalist who is one of the judges of the annual award, commented:  “ Night Games  is not about English football but its relevance to the game is all too clear in the context of the conviction for rape of the Sheffield United player Ched Evans. Anna Krien seeks to understand why some sportsmen treat sex as a warped kind of sport in itself and women with little or

Macho world of Australian sport: William Hill prize contender makes disturbing reading

Review Anna Krien's Night Games is easily the most controversial contender for William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2014, because while sport, albeit in Australia, does provides the backdrop, it is as much a book about the sexual abuse of women. The starting point is the trial of a Australian rules footballer accused of rape following a party to celebrate the Melbourne club Collingwood's victory over city rivals St Kilda in the 2010 AFL Grand Final.  Except that the player concerned, given the pseudonym 'Justin Dyer' by the author, is not a member of the victorious team. In reality he is little more than a hanger-on, drawn into the spotlight after the complainant, whom Anna Krien calls 'Sarah Wesley', claims to have been raped in a hotel bedroom by two very high profile Collingwood players.  The incident with Dyer took place in an alleyway later. Dyer was initially called as a witness, only to find himself on trial after the charges against the two sta

Rob Steen and Simon Inglis strike two heavyweight blows for well researched sporting history

Racy tales of scandal and skulduggery and journeys into troubled souls have tended to tick the judges' boxes for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in recent years, so it is encouraging to see that the 2014 shortlist contains two hefty tomes of thoroughly well researched sporting history. The reason for their presence there is easily explained: both are exceptional pieces of work with an appeal that goes well beyond mere academic interest. Rob Steen's Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport weighs in at 531 pages of fairly dense type with only one pause for illustrations, which makes it at first glance a daunting prospect.  Yet it has been hailed for the author's lightness of touch in tackling a subject of epic proportions, taking his readers on a journey from gladiatorial Rome to the present day that is heavy on detail yet with many diverting anecdotes. Played in London: Charting the History of a City at Play, Simon Inglis's latest co

Bookie prize contender Proud named on longlist for British Sports Book Awards 2015

Organisers of the British Sports Book Awards have revealed a longlist for the autobiography category for the 2015 awards . It is a 10-book selection that somewhat bows towards the market, with the pre-Christmas bestsellers well represented, among them the controversial autumn blockbusters from former Manchester United captain Roy Keane and exiled England cricketer Kevin Pietersen. The hugely popular autobiography of motorcyclist Guy Martin and the just-released life story of Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar also make the list, along with those of cyclists Nicola Cooke and Chris Froome, footballer Rio Ferdinand and golfer Ian Poulter. From the world of rugby, the autobiographies of former Ireland and Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll and Welsh star Gareth Thomas , whose life story Proud is also on the shortlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year , to be announced later this month. Proud was ghosted by Michael Calvin, who won last year's overall Book

Will tragic tale of Olympic champion John Curry scoop top prize this time for writer Bill Jones?

Three years after his first book was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, Yorkshire writer Bill Jones is again a contender for the richest prize in sports literature. Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry is one of seven contenders for the £26,000 cash prize that comes with the title of William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2014. Jones, a former Yorkshire Evening Press journalist who became an award-winning documentary maker during 27 years with Granada Television , has put together the full story previously untold of Britain's 1976 Olympic figure skating champion, who died at the age of only 44 after contracting Aids. Painstakingly researched over three years, it is a moving story about a man who was a deeply troubled and ultimately tragic figure but also a book that pays proper tribute to a competitor of enormous artistic talent and an extraordinary drive to be the best. Jones reveals that Curry turned to skating only after his father, a fa