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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

'Night Games' is the William Hill Sports Book of the Year

Anna Krien’s book documents the rape trial of a young Australian Rules footballer.

Anna Krien poses with a copy of her book
Anna Krien poses with a copy of her book "Night Games: Sex, Power, and A Journey Into The Dark Heart of Sport" after winning the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award at a ceremony at BAFTA, London.

THE WINNER OF the annual William Hill Sports Book of the Year award has been announced, with Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sport by Anna Krien ultimately chosen for the £26,000 prize.

The book, which documents the rape trial of a young Australian Rules footballer, overcame strong competition from six other nominees, including Proud: My Autobiography by Gareth Thomas and Michael Calvin, and Bobby Moore: The Man in Full by Matt Dickinson.

The judging panel, which included eminent sportswriter Hugh McIlvanney, called it “a painstaking, intelligent, but above all, open-minded examination of an immensely complicated area”.

Another judge, journalist Alyson Rudd, added: “Night Games is not about English football but its relevance to the game is all too clear in the context of the conviction for rape of Ched Evans. Anna Krien seeks to understand why some sportsmen treat sex as a warped kind of sport in itself and women with little or no respect. Hopefully, if such men read her book they would be horrified at the repercussions of such behaviour.”

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe added: “Despite the challenging nature of its subject matter, Anna Krien’s book is balanced yet fearless, and as compelling and involving as any previous winner.

“Quite possibly only a woman could have written it in as personal and perceptive a manner. Anna is the second woman to have won the award and she had to beat one of the strongest, most varied line-ups in our 26-year history.

“It remains disappointing that on average, under 10% of the books submitted each year are written by females, and we hope that Anna’s success will encourage many more women to write about sport.”

Krien becomes just the second woman to win the award following Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and joins a list of illustrious past winners that includes Paul Kimmage, Duncan Hamilton and Nick Hornby.

List of nominess

  • Bobby Moore: The Man in Full by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Playby Simon Inglis (English Heritage)
  • Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curryby Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
  • Run or Dieby Kilian Jornet (Viking)
  • Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sportby Anna Krien (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sportby Rob Steen (Bloomsbury)
  • Proud: My Autobiographyby Gareth Thomas and Michael Calvin (Ebury Press)

Previous winners

2013 – Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang by Jamie Reid

2012 – The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

2011 – A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng

2010 – Beware of the Dog: Rugby’s Hardman Reveals All by Brian Moore

2009 – Harold Larwood: The Authorized Biography of the World’s Fastest Bowler by Duncan Hamilton

2008 – Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography by Marcus Trescothick

2007 – Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough by Duncan Hamilton

2006 – Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey Ward

2005 – My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach

2004 – Basil D’Oliveira: Cricket and Controversy by Peter Oborne

2003 – Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football by Tom Bower

2002 – In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens by Donald McRae

2001 – Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse by Laura Hillenbrand

2000 – It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong

1999 – A Social History of English Cricket by Derek Birley

1998 – Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police by Robert Twigger

1997 – A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment – A County Cricketer’s Life by Simon Hughes

1996 – Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing by Donald McRae

1995 – A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein

1994 – Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper

1993 – Endless Winter: The Inside Story of the Rugby Revolution by Stephen Jones

1992 – Fever Pitch; A Fan’s Life by Nick Hornby

1991 – Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

1990 – Rough Ride: An Insight Into Pro Cycling by Paul Kimmage

1989 – True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski and Patrick Robinson

Who should win the William Hill Sports Book of the Year? Here’s what our writers think>

Brian O’Driscoll’s ‘The Test’ is the Irish Sports Book of the Year>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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