Award categories and criteria

All sports books, published in the UK in hardback or paperback in calendar year 2019, are eligible.

However, different editions of titles shortlisted in last year’s awards are ineligible for submission.

Timing: it is anticipated that the key winning titles in each of the relevant categories could be available in a paperback format for the winners campaign during June 2020.

Please send 1 copy of each submitted title to SBA C/O AGILE IDEAS, Studio 10, Glove Factory Studios, Brook Lane, Holt, Wilts, BA14 6RL

Each title successfully shortlisted attracts a small levy of £325 per title from BSBA LTD to cover the costs of the design, printing and distribution of the official pos to libraries & retailers. However, it has been decided that there will be no winners levy this year.


Autobiography of the Year
For all sports autobiographies of author/subjects born in the UK. Submissions are not taken for this award, the longlist has already been reviewed and will be announced 17th December.

Cricket Book of the Year
Any work of non-fiction related to cricket.

Football Book of the Year
Any work of non-fiction related to football.

Cycling Book of the Year
Any work of non-fiction related to cycling.

Rugby Book of the Year
Any work of non-fiction related to rugby.

General Outstanding Sports Writing Award
Any work of sports-related fiction or non-fiction, but focussed on sports NOT listed above

Illustrated Book of the Year
Best use of photographs and/or drawings in a illustrated sporting title.

Biography of the Year
A biography of a sports-related personality, authorised or unauthorised. (The Autobiography of the Year Award, is distinct from Biography and, does NOT require submissions)

International Sports Autobiography of the Year
For all sports autobiographies of author/subjects not born in the UK.

Sports Health & Fitness Book of the Year
For all sports books covering the health and fitness genre

Children’s Sports Book of the Year
A new category for the 2020 awards – for any sports book aimed at children that encourages a love for reading, sports and physical activity

Overall Sports Book of the Year
At the end of the awards ceremony the Overall Sports Book of the Year will be announced. This will be decided by the judges from the winning books of each category.

Each of the specific sports category awards will be judged by either, the relevant Sport’s Writers’ Association or a separately selected specific panel of judges, under the guidance of SBA Chairman David Willis. All collated submission lists are passed to the individual judging panels for assessment before the shortlists are set. Further titles may be called in by the judging committees.

The number of submissions for each category will confirm which awards are actually presented, so the number of categories may vary from the above if too few are submitted in any category.

Back to submissions