Shortlist 2023


New for this year is the award for New Women’s Sports Writing, which will be named in honour of Vikki Orvice – a brilliant sports journalist who did so much to champion female sports writing.

Mark Pougatch will host the 21st Sports Book Awards, which will take place at the Kia Oval on the evening of 24th May, and Bat For A Chance will be the 2023 Sports Book Awards charity of choice.


The Sports Book Awards in association with The Sunday Times 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 enhance their reputation and profile.

The shortlists for the 2023 Sports Book Awards in association with The Sunday Times have been announced this morning, with nominations featuring some of the greatest sports men and women in a diverse collection of works across eleven award categories.

The shortlist for 2023 includes Gary Lineker, Gary Neville, Sue Barker, Alex Scott, Peter Crouch, Gabby Logan, Micah Richards, Steve Thompson, Marcus Rashford, Beth Mead, Mark Noble, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, Mihir Bose, Anyika Onuora, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Christian Pulisic, Barry Hearn, Moeen Ali, and many more.

When commenting on her nomination, Sports Personality of the Year Winner Beth Mead said: ‘I’d like to thank my team at Orion Books for their help and support in bringing this book to life.’ 

New for this year is the award for New Women’s Sports Writing, which will be named in honour of Vikki Orvice – a brilliant sports journalist who did so much to champion female sports writing. We hope that the award can be a platform for affirmative action that will encourage more women to look at sports writing as a vocation. This new prize will be judged by Nick Greenslade, Dame Katherine Grainger, Sue Anstiss, Anya Shrubsole, Susie Petruccelli and Lewes CEO, Maggie Murphy.


On the new prize, Vikki Orvice’s husband, Ian Ridley, has said:

‘I am delighted both by this award being established, and by Vikki’s name being attached to it. She would be delighted too. Vikki was a great champion of the written word and was often frustrated by the limited opportunities and lack of opportunities for women to see their writing commissioned and showcased. This welcome award plays a big part in putting that right and I am proud that it will be in her name, the use of which I readily agreed to as I know she would have readily endorsed it.’


Former England rugby hooker Steve Thompson MBE is nominated for the Francis Clark Financial Planning Rugby Book of the Year, in association with the Rugby Union Writers’ Club for Unforgettable: Rugby, Dementia and the Fight of my Life. On the shortlisting, Steve Thompson, has said:


‘I’m delighted that my book has been shortlisted. The feedback and messages I’ve had since the book was released has been overwhelming. I’m pleased that my story is not just helping the rugby community, but a much wider community which is those that are living with dementia and brain injuries and the family and friends that support those individuals.’


The Sports Book Awards are judged by an outstanding academy including The Football Writers’ Association, The Rugby Union Writers’ Club, The Cricket Society, National Literacy Trust, Christine Ohuruogu, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Mark Pougatch, Annie Vernon, Simon Halliday, Jill Douglas and Simon Brotherton.

In addition, a public vote is now open to find the winners in two categories, Autobiography of the Year and Sports Entertainment Book of the Year, at sportsbookawards.com/vote/

The Sports Book Awards, in association with The Sunday Times will take place at the Kia Oval on 24th May, presented by Mark Pougatch. Tickets for the awards ceremony are available to purchase at Tickets – Sports Book Awards


The 2023 Sports Book Awards in association with The Sunday Times shortlists in full:


The Sunday Times Autobiography of the Year

Calling the Shots, Sue Barker (Ebury Spotlight)

On Days Like These: My Life in Football, Martin O’Neill (Pan Macmillan)

How (Not) To be Strong, Alex Scott (Century)

Boleyn Boy, Mark Noble (HarperCollins)

Lioness, Beth Mead (Seven Dials/Orion)

Barry Hearn: My Life, Barry Hearn (Hodder & Stoughton)

The First Half, Gabby Logan (Piatkus)

Dear John, John Lloyd with Phil Jones (Pitch Publishing)



The Children’s Sports Book Prize sponsored by The JP Marland Charitable Trust, in association with the National Literacy Trust

Strong and Tough, Rico Hinson-King (Author) and Nick Sharratt (Illustrator) (Bloomsbury)

You Can Do It, Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Planet Football, Michelle Robinson (Author) and Chris Mould (Illustrator) (Walker Books)

50 Times Football Changed the World, Gary Lineker, Ivor Baddiel and Erica Salcedo (Illustrator)  (Puffin)

The Legend of Sparkhill, Moeen Ali and Tanya Aldred (Fairfield Books)

Ultimate Cricket Superstars, Matt Oldfield and Tanya Aldred (Walker Books)

All to Play For, Eve Ainsworth (Author) and Kirsti Beautyman (Illustrator) (Barrington Stoke)

The Funny Life of Football, James Campbell (Author) and Rob Jones (Illustrator) (Bloomsbury)



The Heartaches’ Cricket Book of the Year

Being Geoffrey Boycott, Geoffrey Boycott and Jon Hotten (Fairfield Books)

Elephant in the Stadium, Arunabha Sengupta (Pitch Publishing)

Crickonomics, Stefan Szymanski and Tim Wigmore (Bloomsbury Sport)

An Island’s Eleven: The Story of Sri Lankan Cricket, Nicholas Brookes (The History Press)

Different Class: The Untold Story of English Cricket, Duncan Stone (Repeater Books)

Unveiling Jazbaa: A History of Pakistan Women’s Cricket, Aayush Puthran and Kamila Shamsie (Polaris Publishing Ltd)



Cycling Book of the Year

Chased By Pandas, Dan Martin (Quercus)

Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete, Jeremy Wilson (Pursuit Books)

Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle, Jody Rosen (The Bodley Head)

Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was, Daniel Friebe (Pan Macmillan)

The Break: Life as a Cycling Maverick, Steve Cummings (Allen & Unwin)

Climbers: How the Kings of the Mountains Conquered Cycling, Peter Cossins (Cassell)



Socios.com Sports Entertainment Book of the Year

How to be an Ex-Footballer, Peter Crouch (Ebury Press)

Cheers, Geoff!: Tales from the Touchline, Geoff Shreeves (Pan Macmillan)

How to Be a Football Manager, Ian Holloway (Headline)

BBC Sports Report, Pat Murphy (Bloomsbury Sport)

The Wood Life: A Not so Helpful How-To Guide on Surviving Cricket, Life and Everything in Between, Mark Wood (Allen & Unwin)

The Game, Micah Richards (HarperCollins)

Square Peg, Round Ball, Ned Boulting (Bloomsbury Sport)

Touching the Heights, Archie Macpherson (Luath Press Ltd)



Geoff Neal Football Book of the Year, in association with the Football Writers’ Association

1999: Manchester United, the Treble and All That, Matt Dickinson (Simon & Schuster UK)

England Football: The Biography, Paul Hayward (Simon & Schuster UK)

The Silence of the Stands, Daniel Gray (Bloomsbury Sport)

‘Unsuitable For Females’, The Rise of the Lionesses and Women’s Football in England, Carrie Dunn (Arena Sport)

Scheisse! We’re Going Up!, Kit Holden (Duckworth)

Brazil 1970, Samindra Kunti (Pitch Publishing)

Two Brothers, Jonathan Wilson (Little Brown)

Expected Goals, Rory Smith (HarperCollins)



The Vikki Orvice Award for New Women’s Sports Writing

A Delicate Game, Hana Walker-Brown (Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton)

The Year Of The Robin, Jen Offord (Icon)

Flares Up, Niamh McAnally (Pitch Publishing)

Between Overs, Michéle Savidge (Pitch Publishing)

A Woman’s Game: The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Women’s Football, Suzanne Wrack (Faber & Faber)

The Power of Belief, Beth Shriever and Sarah Juggins (Pitch Publishing)



Rathbones Illustrated Book of the Year

Football Murals, Andy Brassell (Bloomsbury Sport)

Three Lions On A Shirt, Simon Shakeshaft, Daren Burney and Neville Evans (Vision Sports Publishing)

Old Liverpool FC In Colour, Mark Platt and George Chilvers (Reach Sport)

Remarkable Football Grounds, Ryan Herman (Pavilion)

Heart of Midlothian, 51 Shirts, Grant Young (Pitch Publishing)

81 – The Year That Changed Our Lives, Steve Perryman and Julie Welch (Vision Sports Publishing)

The Times World Cup Moments, Henry Winter (Foreword) and Richard Whitehead (Author) (HarperCollins)

The Cup, Richard Whitehead (Pitch Publishing)



LoveReading International Sports Book of the Year

The Roger Federer Effect, Simon Cambers and Simon Graf (Pitch Publishing)

Adrenaline, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Penguin)

So Help Me Golf: Why We Love the Game, Rick Reilly (Headline)

Warrior, Tris Dixon (Pitch Publishing)

Intensity: Inside Liverpool FC, Pep Lijnders with James Carroll (Reach Sport)

Pulisic: My Journey So Far, Christian Pulisic with Daniel Melamud (Rizzoli)



Francis Clark Financial Planning Rugby Book of the Year, in association with the Rugby Union Writers’ Club

Second Sight, Ian McKinley with Gerry Thornley (Reach Sport)

Fighting to Speak, Mark Jones and Anthony Bunko (St David’s Press)

Scrum Queens, Ali Donnelly (Pitch Publishing)

Steve Hansen: The Legacy, Gregor Paul (HarperCollins New Zealand)

Unforgettable, Steve Thompson (Blink Publishing)

World in their Hands: The Story of the First Women’s Rugby World Cup, Martyn Thomas (Polaris Publishing Ltd)



Pinsent Masons Sports Writing Award

Everest 1922: The Epic Story of the First Attempt on the World’s Highest Mountain, Mick Conefrey (Allen & Unwin)

Dreaming the Impossible: The Battle to Create a Non-Racial Sports World, Mihir Bose (Arena Sport)

The Long Golden Afternoon, Stephen Proctor (Arena Sport)

The People’s Game, Gary Neville (Hodder & Stoughton)

My Hidden Race, Anyika Onuora and Jonathan Drennan (Mirror Books)

Get It On: How the ‘70s Rocked Football, Jon Spurling (Biteback Publishing)