Which of these 'new' writers will make the right impression with the judges?


A superb biography of Fred Trueman by the Yorkshire Post cricket writer Chris Waters -- already the winner of two awards -- and an excellent portrait of a British athlete banned from the 1960 Olympics are among the contenders for the New Writer award at the British Sports Book Awards 2012.

The Sports Bookshelf outlines all six titles shortlisted in this category as the build-up to the announcement of the winners continues.

These will be revealed at a black tie dinner at The Savoy Hotel in London next Monday, May 21, when Nick Hornby will also be presented with an award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing’ some 20 years on from the publication of ‘Fever Pitch’.

The winners from the 10 categories will then be entered into an online public vote to find the overall British Sports Book of the Year 2012. Each winning title will be promoted in a media and retail campaign in the run up to Father’s Day. The public vote will held on the official website – www.britishsportsbookawards.co.uk – the overall winner will be announced on June 11.

Look out for a run-down of the contenders in the Motorsports and Rugby Books of the Year, the Illustrated Book of the Year and the Best Publicity Campaign.

Follow these links for a detailed review of the other shortlists:

Autobiography/Biography of the Year
Cricket Book of the Year
Football Book of the Year
Golf Book of the Year
Horse Racing Book of the Year

The Full Shortlists

These are the contenders for New Writer of the Year

1 - Among the Fans: From the Ashes to the Arrows, a Year of Watching the Watchers

Author: Patrick Collins
Published by: Wisden Sports Writing

Given that he has been writing about sport for almost 50 years, Patrick Collins is hardly a new writer.  Yet apart from collections of his newspaper columns, there had been no book bearing his name until Wisden Sports Writing commissioned him not to watch sport but observe its audiences.  Collins watched the watchers at showpiece events such as the World Cup in South Africa, an Ashes Test in Adelaide, Wimbledon and the Cheltenham Festival, but also at a point-to-point meeting in Sussex, a dog track in Kent and speedway in Eastbourne.  The end result is a sometimes gentle and affectionate, at other times unapologetically critical account of a year among the fans.

2 - Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: My Triathlon Journey from Common Man to Ironman

Author: Andy Holgate
Published by: Know The Score Books

Andy Holgate could literally not swim, was hardly a runner and did not own a bike when he decided to transform himself from an overweight librarian to an Ironman triathlete. Over the course of an epic journey, he ended up in hospital, dealt with family crises, encountered crocodiles and deadly amoebas, and persuaded his friends that a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon were perfectly reasonable things to do on a stag weekend. This is the inspirational, amusing and moving story of how an ordinary bloke learnt how to fall off a bike and not injure himself, to run a marathon despite two dodgy knees, and most importantly how not to drown.

3 - Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography

Author: Chris Waters
Published by: Aurum Press

Meticulously researched and superbly constructed, the first full biography of one of England’s greatest cricketers is a triumph on several levels, probing into Trueman's background and psyche not only to unearth much new material on the Yorkshire fast bowler but to reveal the deep complexities of his character. A balanced and fair yet unflinching portrait that draws on dozens of new interviews with Trueman's fellow players, broadcasters, family and friends, brilliantly put together in a fascinating narrative that identifies Waters, the cricket correspondent of the Yorkshire Post, as a fine writer. Already winner of the MCC-Cricket Society and Wisden book of the year awards.

4 - Higgy: Matches Microphones and MS

Author: Alastair Hignell
Published by: Bloomsbury

Alastair Hignall had three highly successful careers in sport: as an England rugby player, a county cricketer and a sports broadcaster. A much-loved figure in the sporting world, he retired after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  Higgy's has been a tough journey, and his story is a fascinating example of strength and determination when faced with adversity. His story is about setbacks and triumphs, about making the shift from the athletic struggles of sport to the struggle of performing everyday tasks, the genuine and emotional story of how a highly successful sportsman faced up to a devastating illness and in so doing became an inspiration to others.

5 - Sporting Chancer: One Man's Journey to Take On the World

Author: Ed Hawkins
Published by: Pitch Publishing

Ed Hawkins grew up around gambling. Instead of going to school, he followed his father, a horseracing journalist, around the courses of the UK. The betting ring was his maths class and the press box his English lesson. Out of work and out of luck, he embarks on a mission to gamble is way around the world, winning and losing with hilarious self-deprecation. He  loses so heavily in Melbourne he is forced to sell his possessions and ends up at an illegal cockfight in Louisiana with Britney Spears’ babysitter. Among other jaunts he embarrasses himself playing poker at the World Series, has a knock-up of tennis with John McEnroe and plays darts against Phil Taylor before trying for a life-changing win at Glasgow’s luckiest bingo hall.

6 - The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn't Stop

Author: Bill Jones
Published by: Mainstream

John Tarrant became a newspaper celebrity in the 1950s and 60s, mingling with the crowds at high-profile long-distance running events, then suddenly joining the race himself, having arrived with his vest and shorts hidden beneath a long overcoat.  He became known as the Ghost Runner.  But his appearances were more than a stunt.  Tarrant had dreamed of running in the marathon at the Rome Olympics in 1960. But when he tried to join Salford Harriers, the Amateur Athletics Association told him that the £17 he had earned from boxing matches as a teenager in Buxton made him a professional, and banned him for life.  So Tarrant began to gatecrash events to deliver a bitter message to those who had denied him his dream. Bill Jones, a television documentary maker, tells his story.


Second Award for Waters
Trueman biography reveals real story
The watchers watched
Marathon man cruelly denied his quest for glory


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