Clare Balding joins a stellar group of judges for the inaugural Sports Writing Award, including former Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu and England cricket legend Darren Gough.
For the first time, The Telegraph Sports Book Awards to take place at The Kia Oval’s new hospitality suite on 20th September 2021.
Shortlist includes Joe Wicks, Jamie Redknapp, Harry Pearson, Eddie Hearn, Andy Cole, David Walsh, Tyson Fury, Andy Robertson, Ruqsana Begum, Tom Fordyce, Gianluca Vialli, Jeff Stelling, Geraint Thomas, Chloe Madeley, Luka Modric, Nicklas Bendtner, Marco Van Basten, Joe Marler, Rob Kearney, Catherine Spencer, James Haskell, Chris Sutton, Alan Brazil and many more.
The shortlist for The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2021, announced today, features a diverse mix of extraordinary writing from new and established writers and sportspeople across 11 categories, including the inaugural Clays Best Sports Writing Award, the fiercely contested CLOC Football Book of the Year as judged by the FWA, The Arbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year, adjudicated by The Rugby Writers’ Club, The Children’s Book of the Year supported by our charity partner, The National Literacy Trust, as well as another new category, Sports Entertainment Book of the Year, in recognition of a rapidly growing area of sports writing.
Arsene Wenger, shortlisted in the International Autobiography of the Year, says:
‘I am honoured to see my book, MY LIFE IN RED AND WHITE, shortlisted for International Autobiography of the Year alongside such outstanding sportspeople. I am grateful to the judges for recognising my story in this way and proud to show that sport crosses international borders to unite us all.’
The Telegraph Sports Book Awards is the major annual promotion for sports writing and publishing. The awards exist to highlight the most outstanding sports books of the previous calendar year, to showcase their merits and, to enhance their reputation and profile.
To tie in with the announcement of The Telegraph Sports Book Awards shortlist, the public are now, for the first time ever, being asked to cast their votes online for their favourite sports books of the year. The Sports Book Awards esteemed judging panels are still in place for each category associated with an individual sport, where judging remains under the remit of the respective sports writing associations.
The Autobiography of the Year, International Autobiography or the Year, Sports Entertainment of the Year, and Sports Health & Fitness Book of the Year will all be 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.
Voting is now live on the BRAND NEW Sports Book Awards website – CLICK HERE TO VOTE – but keep your eyes peeled, as there will be more information on the voting process released across the Sports Book Awards channels in the coming weeks.
The inaugural Clays Sports Writing Award will also be adjudicated by a specifically assembled panel, with Clare Balding appointed as the judging chair for 2021. The award replaces the Biography and General Outstanding categories, ensuring the very best works are appropriately recognised within a singular category. Alongside Clare Balding, the judges include Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu, Sky Boxing’s Adam Smith, Cricketer and TalkSport host Darren Gough, The Telegraph’s Chief Sportswriter Oliver Brown, The Chairman of European Rugby Simon Halliday and Olympic Silver medallist and bestselling author Annie Vernon. They will be looking for outstanding storytelling with literary merit that leaves a lasting impact on the reader.
Olympic champion and judging panellist Christine Ohuruogu says:
‘I’m thrilled to be part of the judging panel for the inaugural Sports Writing Award. It’s a fantastic campaign and ceremony and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the outstanding books with a stellar group of sports stars, broadcasters and journalists.’
The Sports Book Award’s Children’s Sports Book of the Year, once again in association with The National Literacy Trust, encompasses a broad range of excellent Children’s titles. Picture books, YA titles, fiction and non-fiction will all be considered, leaving this year’s judges with a tough decision. However, all shortlisted books encourage a love of reading through sports & physical activity, using sports & sporting stories to inspire its young readers. The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life. Over the past 20 years, the charity has improved the literacy skills of more than a million children through the power of sport.
Sports Book Awards founder and Chairman David Willis reflects:
‘There has been an explosion of titles in the sports department of bookshops and this reflects the enormous and growing interest in the worlds of sport and games, fitness and leisure and mindfulness and meditation.
The energetic and imaginative team who make this lively and much anticipated event happen, work throughout the year reading, debating, sometimes arguing, and above all enthusing all comers with their love of sport and its literary heritage. My sincere thanks to everyone at AGILE, Omar Khan and our hard working judging academy.
We remain committed to the work of the National Literacy Trust. The numerous initiatives the National Literacy Trust run to increase child literacy rates are absolutely essential, and we look forward to using our platform to help them meet that challenge. The Children’s Sports Book Award provides the opportunity to recognise fantastic contributions to Children’s sporting literature.
Sport is such an integral part of the essential British psyche so it is inevitable that reading and reflecting upon it continues to give us all great pleasure and enjoyment.’
Finally, winners will all be announced on September 20th at a London gala ceremony in the 175 Suite, The Kia Oval’s brand-new hospitality suite. The Sports Book Awards are delighted to be hosting the showpiece event in partnership with such a historic venue. Tickets will be available to purchase at sportsbookawards.com from Tuesday 3rd August.
The Clays Best Sports Writing Award
Autobiography of the Year
Children’s Book of the Year, in association with National Literacy Trust
The Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year
VAARU Cycling Book of the Year
CLOC Football Book of the Year, in association with the Football Writers’ Association
Illustrated Book of the Year
Pinsent Masons International Autobiography of the Year
Arbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year, in association with The Rugby Writers’ Club
Sports Entertainment Book of the Year
Sports Health & Fitness Book of the Year