The Sports Book Awards is the major annual award for sports writing and publishing, that exist to highlight the most outstanding sports books of the previous calendar year, to showcase their merits and to enhance their reputation and profile. The Sports Book Awards were born in 2002.
Arsène Wenger secured The Telegraph Sports Book of the Year Award at the 2021 Awards, with his long-time friend David Dean picking up the award on Arsène’s behalf. Arsène’s book, My Life in Red and White also picked up Sports Bestseller of the Year award alongside the overall title in a stellar night for the Arsenal legend.
The Autobiography of the Year Award was presented to inspirational Muay Thai world-champion Ruqsana Begum for Born Fighter, her tale of empowerment that will inspire anyone who has ever had to battle against the odds. Ruqsana’s book reveals that her toughest battles have taken place outside the ring: hiding her passion for fighting from her parents, suffering with ME in her daily life, losing her identity during an arranged marriage – and then finally, breaking free
Eddie Hearn, boxing’s leading promoter, won the iPRO Hydrate Sport Health and Fitness Book of the Year for Relentless: 12 rounds to success, winning the people's vote against boxing rival Tyson Fury, Olympic Gymnastics Gold medalist Max Whitlock, Italian football legend Gianluca Vialli, Joe Wicks and Chloe Madeley.
In a massive year for football, The CLOC Football Book of the Year chronicled the rise and fall of French Football, Sacre Bleu: Zidane to Mbappe. With a foreword by fellow winner Arsène Wenger, this year's Best Sports Book of The Year winner, and interviews with leading figures in French football, Spiro asks what went wrong for France and what, ultimately, went right.
The inaugural Clays Sports Writing Award was won by Ed Caesar’s excellent The Moth and the Mountain, delighting the stellar judging panel including Clare Balding, Christine Ohurugu Olympic Gold medallist, Darren Gough, Talksport’s outstanding broadcaster, Chairman of European Rugby Simon Halliday, Sky Sports Head of Boxing Adam Smith, Oliver Brown Telegraph Chief Sports Writer and Beijing Olympic Rowing silver medalist Annie Vernon.
Judging Chair, Clare Balding said:
“It’s been a real pleasure to judge an outstanding and varied group of books for the Best Sports Writing Award for 2021. The Moth and the Mountain was a great winner and I hope people will read this tale of daring adventure."
The National Literacy Trust was official charity partner for 2021, and a partner on the Children’s Sports Book of the Year which was awarded to former Welsh and British Lions Rugby International James Hook & David Brayley for Chasing a Rugby Dream.
The Pinsent Masons International Autobiography of the Year was awarded to Barry Geraghty for True Colours. His autobiography is about resilience, the mental strength required to enable the great to continually prevail against ever increasing odds - a must-read for all sports fans.
The 3rd Arbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year, judged by the Rugby Union Writers' Club, went to Rob Kitson’s Exe Men, defeating a plethora of rugby Internationals including James Haskell, Joe Marler and former England Captain Dylan Hartley.
The Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year sponsored by long time friend of the late Bob Willis and long term supporter of the Sports Book Awards, Sir Tim Rice was given to Ashley Gray’s The Unforgiven - Missionaries or Mercenaries.
The Illustrated Book of the Year brings together the most beautiful and original visualisations of sport. Judges are asked to critique these books by their covers and stunning imagery throughout. Winner of this year's award is Daniel Melamud with This is Cricket, aptly presented in this year's cricketing venue, The Kia Oval, Home of Surrey County Cricket.
The People’s Vote category for Sports Entertainment Book of the Year was won by comedian Paul Tonkinson’s hilarious and inspiring book about running and redemption, 26.2 Miles to Happiness.
The Vaaru Cycling Book of the Year was won by Matt Rendell’s Colombia Es Pasion!, in a category overseen by, among others, BBC Sport’s Olympic Cycling commentary team Jill Douglas & Simon Brotherton.