Cross Sports Book Awards 2017 winners announced

May 25, 2017

Joey Barton wins the 2017 Cross Autobiography of the Year Award

Hugh McIlvanney presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing Award by Sir Michael Parkinson

Joey Barton, the controversial Premier League footballer, has triumphed at the 15th annual Cross Sports Book Awards, as winners across 10 categories were announced at Lord’s Cricket Ground on 24th May.

Receiving the award from Dame Katherine Grainger at a star-studded gala dinner, Barton triumphed over a stellar list of books written by former Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill, Arsenal football legend Ian Wright, Marathon runner Jo Pavey, London 2012 Long Jump Olympic Gold medallist Greg Rutherford and Ashes winning cricketer Jonathan Trott.

No Nonsense is a game-changing autobiography which redefines one of the most fascinating figures in British football. It is the raw yet redemptive story of a man shaped by rejection and the consequences of his mistakes.

Dame Katherine Grainger who is chair of the judges for the Cross Autobiography of the Year, commenting on the high standard of the six nominees said:  “It has been an absolute privilege to be a judge for this year’s awards but I think I can speak for all the judges when I say it’s also been a complete headache and challenge in the best possible way. The books were really outstanding and every book on the shortlist opened up something new about sport or about the athlete in question making for fascinating reading.

“The decision-making process wasn’t easy but after much discussion, deliberation, and a little arguing, we have agreed that Joey Barton is the winner for his refreshingly raw and candid autobiography. It is an honest portrayal of a football player confronting his history and his behaviour, examining both his bad boy reputation and the philosopher within. It makes for a stimulating and entertaining read.”

A special award for Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing was presented to arguably the most outstanding writer of our generation, Hugh McIlvanney by the 2015 recipient of the award Sir Michael Parkinson.

Commenting on McIlvanney’s brilliance Sir Michael said, “He is a meticulous journalist and a very gifted writer – an unbeatable combination.  He is the best of us.”

On receipt of his award, Hugh said, “I am truly grateful to the Cross Sports Book Awards for boosting an old scribbler’s spirits with this honour. The extent to which I feel flattered won’t be difficult to gauge after a glance at the list of previous recipients. It would take Wembley to accommodate all the colleagues who deserve a Lifetime Achievement Award for putting up with me over the years.”

Find a Way by Diana Nyad was awarded the International Autobiography of the Year in a highly competitive category comprising books by AB de Villiers, Andrés Iniesta, Roberto Duran, Phil Knight the founder of Nike and Paul O’Connell. Nyad follows in the footsteps of Ronda Rousey, UFC Women’s Fight Champion who won the 2016 award. In an incredible story Nyad accounts her memoir becoming the first person to swim the shark-infested waters between Cuba and Florida with no cage for protection – she also succeeded in fulfilling a dream she first chased at age twenty-eight and at long last achieved when she was sixty-four.

British and Irish Lions second row forward Paul O’Connell’s The Battle won the Rugby Book of the Year award, whilst Tour de France cycling legend Chris Boardman secured the Cycling Book of the year in a category judged by Olympic cycling commentators Simon Brotherton, Jill Douglas, Commonwealth Gold medallist David Millar and Rugby World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson.

Mark Nicholas, one of cricket’s finest broadcasters won The Cricket Book of the Year in a category judged by Sky Sports Bob Willis, Paul Allot and Isa Guha for his memoir called A Beautiful Game.

In a strong night for football The Times football correspondent Oliver Kay was awarded Football Book of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association for Forever Young, which tells the forgotten tale of Adrian Doherty, the prodigious talent who looked set to spearhead Manchester United’s famed class of 92.

And The Sun Shines Now, the superb book written by Adrian Tempany, which deconstructs the dramatic changes that have taken place in English football in the 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster was awarded New Writer of the Year, whilst The Lane by Adam Powley, Martin Cloake and former Tottenham Hotspur Captain Steve Perryman picked up the Illustrated Book of the Year.

The Times Biography of the Year was handed to acclaimed biographer Robert Wainwright accounting the story of The Maverick Mountaineer – George Finch one of the twentieth century’s most eccentric anti-heroes.

Each of the nine winning titles is now put to an online public vote to determine the overall Cross Sports Book of the Year in association with The Times. Everyone who votes at is entered into a prize draw to win £100 of National Book Tokens. The public vote is open until midnight on 9th June with the winner announced shortly after.

The complete list of winners:

Cross Autobiography of the Year
No Nonsense: The Autobiography by Joey Barton (Simon & Schuster)

The Times Biography of the Year
The Maverick Mountaineer by Robert Wainwright (Allen & Unwin UK)

The Professional Cricketers’ Association Cricket Book of the Year
A Beautiful Game by Mark Nicholas (Allen & Unwin UK)

Maserati Cycling Book of the Year
Triumphs and Turbulence: My Autobiography by Chris Boardman (Ebury Press)

Specsavers Football Book of the Year
Forever Young by Oliver Kay (Quercus)

Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year
The Lane by Adam Powley, Steve Perryman & Martin Cloake (Vision Sports Publishing)

Arbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year
The Battle by Paul O’Connell (Penguin Ireland)

Freshtime New Writer of the Year
And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany (Faber & Faber)

Sky Sports International Autobiography of the Year
Find A Way by Diana Nyad (Macmillan)

Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing
Hugh McIlvanney