Autobiography of the Year 2020 Shortlist Announced!

May 27, 2020

Autobiography of the Year shortlist announced for The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020

Tyson Fury and Ben Stokes among those shortlisted for prestigious annual award

Tyson Fury’s BEHIND THE MASK and Ben Stokes ON FIRE head a strong list of nominees for the Autobiography of the Year, to be awarded at The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020.

Tyson Fury’s boxing comeback is undoubtedly one of the greatest in the sport’s history. Fury’s book is an unflinching autobiography from arguably the greatest boxer of our times, a man who has also demonstrated strength of a very different kind in conquering his inner demons.

ON FIRE by Ben Stokes is a brand new book that tells the story of England’s Cricket World Cup Triumph, as well as last year’s momentous Ashes Test series. It is the ultimate insider’s account of the most nerve shredding, but riveting three and a half months in English cricketing history.

Stokes commenting on his nomination said: “I’m delighted to be short listed for the Autobiography Award at the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book of the Year Awards and in such fantastic company!”

Stokes’s England colleague James Anderson also makes the short list for the first time with BOWL. SLEEP. REPEAT. Anderson is England’s record wicket taker and speaks openly and forthrightly about those he has played with and against, outlining his thoughts on some of the biggest issues in the game today.

Eniola Aluko’s THEY DON’T TEACH THIS also made the long list for the much-coveted William Hill Sports Book of the Year, it’s a hard-hitting account about the England footballer capped 102 times for her country. The book explores themes of dual nationality and identity, race and institutional prejudice failure and success.

Michael Owen is the last English footballer to win the Ballon d’Or and one of only six British players to claim the prestigious award alongside Kevin Keegan, George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and Sir Stanley Matthews. REBOOT chronicles the life of one of the most talented footballers of the modern era, in a career that has always divided opinion. It is a brutally honest book that attempts to put the record straight on a number of contentious events linked to the Strikers career.

Owen’s one-time forward partner for Liverpool and England is also shortlisted for EVEN HESKEY SCORED, the brisk story of a largely unsung player loved by his team mates, who overcame fierce criticism to live the football dream. It is a compelling read, concluding thoughtfully that racism remains a blind spot for many people.

To complete the 2020 short list is Jason Plato’s HOW NOT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL RACING DRIVER. Plato is a two-time championship winning and record-breaking racing driver who reveals all in a no-holds-barred account of his stellar career and occasionally riotous personal life.

The Telegraph Sports Book Awards are judged by an outstanding group of sports celebrities, broadcasters and journalists. The judging panels for 2020 include: Louise Minchin, Christine Ohuruogu, Simon Halliday, Sir Tim Rice, The Rugby Writers Association, Jill Douglas, Simon Brotherton, Jacquie Beltrao, Adam Smith, Brian Moore, Darren Gough, The Football Writers Association and Rishi Persad.

The full shortlists for the awards will be announced on June 17th 2020, where we reveal the shortlistees for the remaining nine categories, including the inaugural Children’s Sports Book of the Year, in partnership with the awards charity partner, The National Literacy Trust.

All category winners, including the Autobiography of the Year, will be announced at the 18th edition of The Telegraph Sports Book Awards. Unfortunately, the annual black-tie ceremony at Lords Cricket is just not feasible in the current climate, so for the first time, it will be a digital affair, with the announcement set to take place on July 15th. All remaining shortlist categories will also be revealed on June 17th, so keep your eyes peeled!

Autobiography of the Year Shortlist 2020

They Don’t Teach This by Eni Aluko (Yellow Jersey)

Bowl. Sleep. Repeat by James Anderson (Octopus Books)

Behind the Mask by Tyson Fury (Century)

Reboot by Michael Owen (Reach Sport)

How Not to be a Professional Racing Driver by Jason Plato (Michael Joseph)

Even Heskey Scored by Emile Heskey (Pitch Publishing)

On Fire by Ben Stokes (Headline)


The 2020 event is the 18th annual awards campaign, previous winners of the Autobiography award include:

2019 – Paul Ferris
2018 – Martine Wright
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 Canonville
2008 – Bobby Charlton
2007 – Paul McGrath
2006 – Frank Bruno
2005 – Nasser Hussain
2004 – Gareth Southgate & Andy Woodman
2003 – Niall Quinn