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Craig Porter 25th Oct 2013 - 10:00

Zlatan Ibrahimovic shortlisted for 25th bookie prize

Shortlist of the £25,000 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award announced

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimović, one of professional football’s most mercurial players, has been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2013, for his autobiography, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović. Leading Paris Saint-Germain to victory in recent appearances on the pitch in the UEFA Champion’s League, Ibrahimović is now in the running to extend his record-breaking glory off the pitch; if he goes on to win this year’s Award he will become the first active footballer to triumph in the world's oldest and most prestigious sports-writing prize.

 

Already a commercial and critical success in his home country, and shortlisted for Sweden's most prominent literature award, the August Prize, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović documents an extraordinary life story, charting the footballer's rise from poverty to one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive players. Published in the UK earlier this autumn, it has already won widespread acclaim, with award-winning author and sportswriter Simon Kuper drawing comparisons with Philip Roth’s classic Portnoy’s Complaint.

Also making this year’s shortlist are: Daniel James Brown for The Boys In the Boat: An Epic True-Life Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin, which tells the remarkable true story of American rower Joe Rantz; David Epstein for The Sports Gene: What Makes The Perfect Athlete, an exploration of the great nature vs. nurture debate; Ed Hawkins, the first western journalist to infiltrate India’s notorious illegal gambling industry, for Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld; and Jamie Reid for Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang, an account of one of the biggest doping scandals in British racing history.

 

The shortlist is completed by David Walsh, winner of the UK Sportswriter of the Year title three times, for Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong, For many years, Walsh was one of the few journalists prepared consistently to question Lance Armstrong's record, and was instrumental in bringing him to justice.

 

The shortlist in full (alphabetically by author’s surname):

  • The Boys In The Boat: An Epic True-Life Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin by Daniel James Brown (Macmillan)
  • The Sports Gene: What Makes The Perfect Athlete by David Epstein (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld by Ed Hawkins (Bloomsbury)
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović by Zlatan Ibrahimović, David Lagercrantz and Ruth Urbom (Penguin)
  • Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang by Jamie Reid (Racing Post)
  • Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh (Simon & Schuster)

 

William Hill spokesman, and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said:  “It is fitting that in this, the Award's silver anniversary year, we have a shortlist that not only echoes our opening two years, when rowing and cycling were the winning sports, but also boasts books examining and confronting some of the most topical, controversial and relevant issues affecting sport today. It is a list to be hugely proud of.”

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £25,000 cash prize, the winning author will receive a £2,500 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races.

The judging panel for this year’s Award consists of: broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; broadcaster Danny Kelly; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd of The Times. Chairman of the judging panel is John Gaustad, co-creator of the Award and founder of the Sportspages bookshop.

 

The winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, at an evening reception at the Hospital Club in central London, on Wednesday 27th November.

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For further information, please contact Graham Sharpe at William Hill on 020 8918 3732.

Notes to Editors

  1. This year’s Award was open to any full-length book, providing the subject was predominantly sporting, published for the first time in the UK between 28th September 2012 and 27th September 2013.

  1. Shortlisted authors will receive £3,000 cash, a leather-bound copy of their book, and a free £1,000 bet. Longlisted authors will receive a free £500 bet and a certificate.

  1. The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2013 LONGLIST:
  • Thierry Henry: Lonely at the Top – A Biography by Philippe Auclair (Macmillan)
  • Stillness and Speed: My Story by Dennis Bergkamp with David Winner (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Boys In The Boat: An Epic True-Life Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin by Daniel James Brown (Macmillan)
  • You Don’t Know Me, But… A Footballer’s Life by Clarke Carlisle (Simon & Schuster)
  • Running My Life: The Autobiography by Seb Coe (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Outsider: My Autobiography by Jimmy Connors (Bantam Press)
  • The Sports Gene: What Makes The Perfect Athlete by David Epstein (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Dreams Do Come True: The Autobiography by Katherine Grainger (Andre Deutsch)
  • Immortal: The Approved Biography of George Best by Duncan Hamilton (Century)
  • Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld by Ed Hawkins (Bloomsbury)
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović by Zlatan Ibrahimović, David Lagercrantz and Ruth Urbom (Penguin)
  • Fear And Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona Vs Real Madrid by Sid Lowe (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang by Jamie Reid (Racing Post)
  • Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius by Brough Scott (Racing Post)
  • The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong by Guido Mina di Sospiro (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh (Simon & Schuster)
  • Domestique: The True Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro by Charly Wegelius and Tom Southam (Ebury Press)

  1. PREVIOUS WINNERS of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award:

2012 – The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

2011 – A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enkeby Ronald Reng

2010 - Beware of the Dog: Rugby’s Hardman Reveals All by Brian Moore

2009 – Harold Larwood: The Authorised Biography of the World’s Fastest Bowler by Duncan Hamilton

2008 – Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography by Marcus Trescothick

2007 - Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough by Duncan Hamilton

2006 - Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey Ward

2005 - My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach

2004 - Basil D'Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy by Peter Oborne

2003 - Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football by Tom Bower

2002 - In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens by Donald McRae

2001 - Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse by Laura Hillenbrand

2000 - It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong

1999 - A Social History of English Cricket by Derek Birley

1998 - Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police by Robert Twigger

1997 - A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment - A County Cricketer's Life by Simon Hughes

1996 - Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing by Donald McRae

1995 - A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein

1994 - Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper

1993 - Endless Winter: The Inside Story of the Rugby Revolution by Stephen Jones

1992 - Fever Pitch; A Fan’s Life by Nick Hornby

1991 - Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

1990 - Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel with a Pro Cyclist by Paul Kimmage

1989 - True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski and Patrick Robinson

  1. The William Hill Sports Book Award 2013 shortlist in detail:

The Boys In The Boat: An Epic True-Life Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin by Daniel James Brown (Macmillan)

Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself in the woods of Washington State, young Joe Rantz turns to rowing as a way of escaping his past. What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other working-class boys exchange the sweat and dust of life in 1930s America for the promise of glory at the heart of Hitler’s Berlin. Stroke by stroke, a remarkable young man strives to regain his shattered self-regard, to dare again to trust in others – and to find his way back home.

 

Daniel James Brown grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. He taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor and now writes narrative non-fiction books full time. His primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life. Brown lives in the country outside of Seattle, Washington with his family.

 

The Sports Gene: What Makes The Perfect Athlete by David Epstein (Yellow Jersey Press)

In recent years Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule has gained popularity as we seek to explain sporting successes. Yet in The Sports Gene, Epstein argues that the nature vs. nurture debate is more complex than we have ever imagined. He explores myths of why top sportsmen excel, showing why some skills that we imagine are innate are not – like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball player – and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete's will to train, might in fact have important genetic components.

Through revealing conversations with leading scientists and Olympic champions, and interviews with athletes who have rare genetic mutations or physical traits, Epstein uses his in-depth knowledge of genetics applied to sporting issues to force us to rethink the very nature of sport.

David Epstein is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and was instrumental in breaking the story that baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003. A keen runner himself, he specialises in issues of science in sports.

Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld by Ed Hawkins (Bloomsbury)

For several years Ed Hawkins made friends with India's illegal bookmakers – men who boast turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars per cricket match – as well as the corruption officers of the International Cricket Council who are trying to shut them down. It's a shady world and rumours abound. But then Hawkins receives a message that changes everything and decides it is time to expose the truth behind match-fixing.

A journey to the very core of India's illegal bookmaking industry that exposes the scale of corruption and the match-fixing that now runs rife throughout world cricket.

Ed Hawkins is betting.betfair's chief cricket tipster. He has been a tipster for more than 12 years, mostly at The Racing Post, and has built a reputation as a shrewd student of the game thanks to memorable tipping feats like tipping Pakistan for glory at the 2009 World Twenty20 and Rajasthan for inaugural IPL glory.

I am Zlatan Ibrahimović by Zlatan Ibrahimović, David Lagercrantz and Ruth Urbom (Penguin)

Formed from over 100 hours of interviews between Lagercrantz and Ibrahimović, I am Zlatan Ibrahimović documents the journey of an outsider from poverty to celebrity footballer. Today, Ibrahimović dominates the top football clubs of the world, but here he discusses every scrap, goal and struggle to get where he is now. Unashamedly honest and totally frank about the hidden life of the professional footballer, Ibrahimović divulges all of his best stories and traces his path through the clubs of Europe.

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a professional footballer who currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, where he is the league’s top goal-scorer, as well as captaining his native Sweden. Previously he has played for Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale, Barcelona and Milan.

David Lagercrantz is a Swedish journalist and author who lectures in creativity and storytelling. Previously he has written biographies of Håkan Lans and Alan Turing, as well as several novels.

Ruth Urbom is a translator from German, Swedish and Finnish into English. She has previously worked on the American Wordpower Dictionary.

Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang by Jamie Reid (Racing Post)

Combining a potent mix of horse racing, drugs, sex, class, crime, gambling and the monarchy, Doped tells the true story of one of the biggest doping scandals in British racing history. In March 1962, an audacious attempt to nobble one of the royal horses alerted police to a well-organised band of racecourse criminals, backed by murderous London gangsters. The subsequent Flying Squad pursuit of the gang brought the quaintly deferential world of racing into sharp conflict with the harsher realities of the 'You've Never Had It So Good' era.

Jamie Reid is a lifelong punter and racing enthusiast who writes a regular column for the Financial Times. One of his previous books, A License to Print Money, was shortlisted for the 1992 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.

Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh (Simon & Schuster)

As early as Armstrong's first victory on the Tour in 1999, The Sunday Times journalist David Walsh had reason to doubt that the incredible performances we were seeing from Armstrong were literally too good to be true. Based on insider information and dogged research, he began to unmask the truth. Faced with the allegations against him, Armstrong always denied everything and even resorted to legal action to defend his reputation. But he could not keep everyone silent. In the autumn of 2012, the USADA published a damning report on Armstrong that resulted in the American being stripped of his seven Tour victories and left his reputation in shreds. Walsh's long fight to reveal the truth had been vindicated.

David Walsh is chief sportswriter for The Sunday Times and has won the UK Sportswriter of the Year title three times. For many years, he was one of the few journalists prepared to question Lance Armstrong's record.

 

 
 
 

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