Rob Burrow biography shortlisted for major award

Rob Burrow’s autobiography has been shortlisted for this year’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, which carries a cash prize of £30,000 for the winner.

The award is the world’s oldest and richest sports literary prize.

This year’s shortlist of six book titles was whittled down from 143 entries.

The Chair of the judging panel, Alyson Rudd, said: “We have a splendidly diverse shortlist that encompasses brain trauma and racism, two of the problems sport is grappling with right now, an iconic moment in rugby, the pull of Everest, an unsung female hero and the fight against adversity.

“The six excellent titles offer fine writing, compelling narratives, pull at the heart strings and, most importantly, ask questions of their readership.”

Burrow’s book, which was written with writer Ben Dirs, is entitled Too Many Reasons to Live (Pan Macmillan) and is described as an “inspirational memoir”, documenting his battle with motor neurone disease and the courage and resilience he has shown to keep fighting to the very end.

Rugby Union also features in the shortlist with authors Tom English and Peter Burns having written This is Your Everest (Polaris Publishing), telling the story of the 1997 British Lions tour of South Africa.

Jamaican commentator and former cricketer Michael Holding also makes the shortlist with Why We Kneel, How We Rise (Simon & Schuster) focusing on racism and discrimination in sport.

Another shortlisted book is Tris Dixon’s book Damage (Hamilcar Publications), which uncovers the difficult truths of boxing and chronic traumatic encephalopathy and chronicles the lives of fighters affected by it.

Sasha Abramsky’s Little Wonder (Birlinn General) is a biography of an unsung female sporting hero, Lottie Dod – a Victorian champion tennis player, golfer, hockey player, mountaineer and archer.

And Ed Caesar’s tale of little-known First World War veteran Maurice Wilson completes the shortlist with The Moth and The Mountain (Penguin). Maurice had no knowledge of climbing and barely knew how to fly but conceived a plan to fly a Gipsy Moth aeroplane from England to Everest alone.

The official awards ceremony will be held on 2nd December. The winning author will take home the £30,000 cash prize and trophy, while shortlisted authors will each receive £3,000 and a leather-bound copy of their book.

Apart from Alyson Rudd, who is a sports journalist with The Times, the judging panel for this year’s award consists of retired professional footballer and former Chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association, Clarke Carlisle, five-time Olympic medallist and rower Dame Katherine Grainger, broadcaster and writer John Inverdale, broadcaster Danny Kelly and journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

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