The National Literacy Trust & The Telegraph Sports Book Awards launch their charity partnership with an event at BT Sport

February 18, 2020

The National Literacy Trust & The Telegraph Sports Book Awards launch their charity partnership with an event at BT Sport with longlisted footballers Gary Lineker & Michael Owen, and a group of lucky schoolchildren.

  • Children’s Sports Books to be recognised for the first time at The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020.


  • NEW Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020 charity partner The National Literacy Trust visit BT Sport with a group of young children to meet Gary Lineker & Michael Owen in a special photo and Q&A session

The National Literacy Trust is to become The Telegraph Sports Book Awards charity partner for 2020. The announcement comes alongside the unveiling of the Sports Book Awards’ inaugural Children’s Sports Book of the Year.

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.

In a special event held at BT Sport’s London studios today, the National Literacy Trust hosted a ‘first team’ of 11 children aged 9-11 from St Luke’s Primary School in East London, who are currently taking part in the charity’s Premier League Reading Stars programme, delivered by coaches from West Ham United. They met with sports broadcaster and The Telegraph Sports Book Awards longlisted nominees, Gary Lineker and Michael Owen. The Event consisted of a Q&A session between the children, Gary and Michael, followed by a photo opportunity.

Gary Lineker, whose book is nominated in the highly sought-after Autobiography of the Year category said:

“Firstly, I’m delighted to be nominated alongside some brilliant sporting names for 2020 and to support the National Literacy Trust’s highly relevant partnership with the Telegraph Sports Book Awards. It’s a pleasure to be able to meet some of their children at BT Sport who benefit from their partnership in football with the Premier League.”

Gary Lineker’s book, Behind Closed Doors, written in collaboration with comedian Danny Baker, features in the longlist for the Autobiography of the Year award, alongside a list of sporting legends, including England Cricketer and 2019 Sports Personality of the Year Ben Stokes, Welsh former international Rugby Union player Sam Warburton, professional Boxing star Tyson Fury, former England Test Cricket captain Alastair Cook, racing driver and BTCC champion Jason Plato, England netball star Geva Mentor, England cricketer Jimmy Anderson and a host of footballing legends such as Eniola Aluko, Emile Heskey, Mark Bright and Michael Owen.

Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said,

“For the past 20 years, the National Literacy Trust has been using the excitement and passion surrounding sport to motivate children to improve their reading and writing skills. We’ve seen first-hand how combining sport and literacy can turn a child’s life around. That is why we are so thrilled to be The Telegraph Sports Book Awards’ charity partner for 2020 and to launch the brand new Children’s Sports Book of the Year category, celebrating the incredible authors whose sporting stories engage, inspire and educate young minds.”  

David Willis, Chairman of The Telegraph Sports Book Awards said:

“We are delighted to announce The Telegraph Sports Book Awards’ charity partner for 2020 as the National Literacy Trust – especially as this year is the first year that we recognise children’s authors in our inaugural Children’s Sports Book Award. Amongst other things, 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 new Children’s Sports Book Award provides the opportunity to recognise fantastic contributions to Children’s sporting literature. This year has seen some excellent published works, including titles by celebrity sporting authors such as Clare Balding, Casey Stoney & Sir Chris Hoy.

Clare Balding, supporter of the National Literacy Trust, children’s author and sports presenter, said:

“I am a proud supporter of the National Literacy Trust and its incredible work to improve children’s literacy skills through the power of sport. Sport has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up surrounded by racehorses and dreams of winning the Grand National, so when I started to write children’s books, I wanted to use these passions to create stories that would capture imaginations and get children excited about reading. I’m delighted that the Sports Book Awards has joined forces with the National Literacy Trust to celebrate the power of fantastic sports writing and engage even more children, young people and adults with the world of stories.”

All shortlisted books for the Telegraph Sports Book Awards will be announced in a shortlist launch event and media day at Pinsent Masons, Midday on 12th May 2020. The winner of the Children’s Sports Book Award will be announced at the 18th Telegraph Sports Book Awards, held on June 2nd, which has taken place at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the last four years. The ceremony will feature 11 categories in 2020, including the much sought after Autobiography award.

The Telegraph Sports Book Awards Categories 2020:

Autobiography of the Year

International Autobiography of the Year

Biography of the Year

Children’s Sports Book of the Year

Cricket Book of the Year

Football Book of the Year

Cycling Book of the Year

Illustrated Book of the Year

General Outstanding Sports Writing Award

Rugby Book of the Year

Sports Health & Fitness Book of the Year