Last year any sporting literature that conveyed entertainment seemed off limits but the judges seem in a happier place now
One lit-critic last year noted sadly how apt it was "that a prize sponsored by a bookie should typically portray sport as inventive misery".
Any sporting literature that conveyed valour, fun, enlightenment, endeavour or enjoyment seemed off limits. Of the last half-dozen "Bookie" winners just one had inspiriting qualities – 2009's heroic biography of cricketer Harold Larwood – with the remainder chronicling the glum mournfulness of, in turn, the racially oppressed boxer Jack Johnson (2006), alcoholic Brian Clough (2007), troubled cricketer Marcus Trescothick (2008), rugby's abused unhappy hooker Brian Moore (2010), and 2011's harrowing tale of a professional footballer's suicide.
Thankfully the judges seem in a happier place this year. Lazily, any Olympic books have been deemed too late for entry. The most topical shortlisted candidate is The Secret Race, where Tyler Hamilton claims to expose "the hidden world" of doping and cover-up in the Tour de France. The nearest resummoning of Olympics glories will be Running With The Kenyans, an appealingly evocative, self-explanatory first person tale, while Chrissie Wellington's A Life Without Limits, strains credulity about the skills and endurance demanded by ironman triathlon. A different eye‑opener is Simon Jordan's worthwhile, well‑written story of losing his self-made millions on Crystal Palace FC, while Miles Jupp provides some pleasant comedy with his engaging take on England's last cricket tour to India.
Full article at The Guardian