Button and Bairstow lead 2018 Sports Book Awards UK Autobiography of the Year Longlist

November 30, 2017

Jenson Button’s Life to the Limit and Jonny Bairstow’s A Clear Blue Sky lead a strong list of nominees for the Best Autobiography of the Year to be awarded at the 2018 Sports Book Awards.

Jenson Button is one of the greatest racing drivers of his generation. This book chronicles his seventeen years in Formula 1, from nursing underpowered cars around the track, to winning the World Championship with Brawn GP. Button’s book lifts the lid on the gilded and often hidden world of Formula 1, revealing relationships with key figures within the industry such as; Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Ron Dennis, Frank Williams and Fernando Alonso.

Jenson Button appearing on Sky Sports News said: ‘It’s an honour to be included in the list for the 2018 Sports Book Awards. I feel privileged to be nominated alongside some true sporting greats.’

Jonny Bairstow, England’s outstanding wicketkeeper was dealt a cruel blow at the tender age of 8 when his father David, the combative and very popular Yorkshire wicketkeeper and captain of Yorkshire, took his own life. Written with multiple award-winning writer Duncan Hamilton, the book tells a story of triumph over adversity as well as far reaching lessons about determination and the will to overcome.

Judy Murray’s book Knowing the Score leads a strong contingent of outstanding sportswomen, including two-time Olympic Boxing Champion Nicola Adams, with Believe. In addition, Unbroken tells the remarkable story of Paralympic athlete Martine Wright, who lost both of her legs during the 2005 London Bombings.

Tony Adams, the former Arsenal and England football legend leads a strong list of football titles. Sober is the memoir of someone battling to overcome his demons. Former Liverpool and Scotland Captain and current Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness’ book, Football: My Life, My Passion is nominated alongside Adebayo Akinfenwa’s The Beast, the story of the uncompromising footballer.

Speed Demons, the autobiography from Ashes winning fast bowler Stephen Harmison, features alongside Johnny Bairstow to give cricket two nominations.

Frank Bruno’s latest book Let Me Be Frank tells of his mental fight to rebuild his life after being sectioned twice in the space of six weeks in 2012. It also allows Bruno the opportunity to reflect on his remarkable boxing career.

To complete the outstanding list of nominees is Wrecking Ball by one of England’s finest rugby players Billy Vunipola and; Road Racer- It’s in My Blood, the phenomenal story of the 13-time TT racing champion Michael Dunlop, who also overcame personal family loss after the death of his uncle and father in motorbike race crashes.

The Sports Book Awards are judged by an outstanding group of sports celebrities, broadcasters and journalists. The Autobiography of the year judging panel this year includes: Dame Katherine Grainger, Alison Kervin, Christine Ohuruogu, Simon Halliday, David Walsh and Joey Barton.

David Willis, Chairman of the Sports Book Awards said, ‘Our 2018 longlist is once again packed with sporting greats and legendary sports stars from the UK. Any of these fantastic new books would make perfect Christmas gifts and I don’t envy the task of the judging panel to select the best sports Autobiography of the Year’.

The winner of the Autobiography of the year will be announced at the 16th Sports Book Awards ceremony, which, held in early June, has taken place at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the last 3 years. The ceremony features 12 award categories and is filmed for a highlights programme shown on Sky Sports channels 1, 2 and 3.

The final shortlist for the award will be announced alongside those from all the other categories in the Sports Book Awards in April 2018

Autobiography of the Year longlist 2018
Jenson Button – Life to the Limit – Blink Publishing
Steve Harmison – Speed Demons – Trinity Mirror Sport Media
Tony Adams with Ian Ridley – Sober – Simon & Schuster
Judy Murray – Knowing the Score – Chatto & Windus
Martine Wright – Unbroken – Simon & Schuster
Jonny Bairstow & Duncan Hamilton – A Clear Blue Sky – HarperCollins
Billy Vunipola – Wrecking Ball – Headline
Adebayo Akinfenwa – The Beast – Headline
Frank Bruno – Let Me Be Frank – Mirror Books
Graeme Souness – Football: My Life, My Passion – Headline
Nicola Adams – Believe – Penguin Random House
Michael Dunlop – Road Racer: It’s in My Blood – Michael O’Mara

The 2018 event is the 16th annual awards campaign, previous winners of the Autobiography award include:
2017 –  Joey Barton
2016 – Max Mosley
2015 – Gareth Thomas
2014 – Jimmy Connors
2013 – David Walsh (combined with biography award)
2012 – Matt Hampson (combined with biography award)
2011 – Brian Moore
2010 – Andre Agassi
2009 – Paul Canoville
2008 – Bobby Charlton
2007 – Paul McGrath
2006 – Frank Bruno
2005 – Nasser Hussain
2004 – Gareth Southgate & Andy Woodman
2003 – Niall Quinn