Award categories and criteria

All sports books, published in the UK in hardback or paperback in calendar year 2023, 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 will be available in a paperback format for the winners campaign after middle of May – June 2024.

Please send 1 copy of each submitted title to SBA C/O AGILE IDEAS, Studio 106, Leather Factory Studios, Brook Lane, Holt, BA14 6RL.

If you are submitting for the Football Book of the Year, in association with the Football Writers’ Association, please also send 2 copies of the title to the FWA:

Anastasia Romanovskaya, 55 Greenland Mews, London SE8 5JW 

Each title successfully shortlisted attracts a small levy of £385 per title from BSBA LTD to cover the costs of the design, printing and distribution of the official pos to libraries and retailers. In addition, the winners of each category will incur a further levy of £425 to cover the extra costs of the greater PR coverage and retail exposure.

Consent must be obtained from authors, illustrators and any contributors by publishers before submitting titles.


Autobiography of the Year
For all sports autobiographies of author/subjects born in the UK.

Best Sports Writing of the Year
Recognising original and insightful works that transcend sport – in selecting the winner, judges will be looking for compelling storytelling with literary merit that leaves a lasting impact on the reader.

Children’s Sports Book of the Year
Any sports book aimed at children that encourages a love for reading, sports and physical activity.

Women’s Sports Writing
The award is designed to be a platform for affirmative action, encouraging more women to look at sports writing as a vocation. Any sports title by a female writer can be submitted – the judges are looking for a well written book with an original subject that is inspirational to readers.

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

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

Football Book of the Year
Any work of non-fiction related to football, with the exception of autobiographies.

Sport Performance, Fitness & Health Book of the Year
For all sports books covering health, fitness, performance, mental health and wellbeing.

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

International Sports Book of the Year
For all sports books by author/subjects not born in the UK.

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

Sports Entertainment Book of the Year
Anecdotal, humorous, or entertaining sports books, that are not autobiographies/biographies.

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. Some categories are decided by an online web-poll divided into two constituencies, a public vote and a specialist SBA Academy vote, weighted equally and combined to provide the winners. 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.