FOR THE FIRST time in its history, books by female authors dominate the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award shortlist.
Following a judging process by a panel of experts in sports and journalism, four of the six are titles written by women.
This is the highest percentage of female finalists since the competition started in 1989.
The award, which is the world’s longest-running sports writing prize, will be contested by six authors:
Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs
Concussed: Sport’s Uncomfortable Truth by Sam Peters
Good for a Girl: My Life Running in a Man’s World by Lauren Fleshman
Kick The Latch by Kathryn Scanlan
Unbreakable by Ronnie O’Sullivan
Unfair Play: The Battle for Women’s Sport by Sharron Davies with Craig Lord
The six-book shortlist was selected from more than 150 entries, and has titles that cover snooker, rugby, tennis, and athletics.
The four female authors shortlisted – Sally H. Jacobs, Lauren Fleshman, Kathryn Scanlan, and Sharron Davies – are in with a chance of becoming the Award’s third female winner.
Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan is also shortlisted, as well as journalist Sam Peters.
Chair of the judges’ panel for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, Alyson Rudd, said: “This is arguably the most exciting shortlist in the history of the award. It has something for everyone, and the quality is exceptionally high.
“There is a way above average autobiography in the form of the page turner that is Ronnie O’Sullivan’s book and a compelling biography of Althea Gibson, the tennis pioneer too few sports fans know about.
“Sam Peters, meanwhile, bravely and eloquently details how concussion has blighted rugby.
“At long last women are being commissioned to write about sport and this is reflected in the fact that four of the shortlisted authors are female and two of them, Sharron Davies and Lauren Fleshman, have produced books that cut, courageously, to the heart of the challenges facing women’s sport.
And, finally, Kathryn Scanlan has summoned a genre busting book that captures the raw energy of sporting passion.”
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.
The Award has a £30,000 cash prize for the winner and will be declared on 30 November 2023 at an official award ceremony at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London.