Non-sports book wins William Hill Sports Book Award

Non-sports book wins William Hill Sports Book Award

Friday, November 25, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Bookmaker's writing competition in its 28th year

William Hill has announced William Finnegan’s ‘Barbarian Days’ as the winner of its 28th ‘Sports Book of the Year’ award.

The Californian writer, who is a regular contributor for the New Yorker Magazine won the highest honour in sports literature with judges describing Barbarian Days as a ‘compelling profound and elegiac’ read. Finnegan who has described himself as a ‘closet surfer’, details the birth of surfing counter culture in California and Hawaii amid the changing world of 1960’s America. 

Barbarian Days will likely become one of William Hill’s most popular award winners, the book already has strong following with President Obama recommending Finnegan’s memoirs as a favourite read. 

William Hill spokesman and co-founder and chair of the Award, Graham Sharpe, told TotallyGaming.com: "William Finnegan is, as far as I am aware, the first winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year to declare that his is not a sports book! However, the judges discussed this issue before deciding to declare it the 2016 winner and considered that given that surfing was the main element of the narrative and was used by the author to illustrate the main themes of his life, it could happily be described as a sports book - particularly as surfing will feature at the 2020 Olympics.”

As 2016 winner Finnegan receives a £28,000 cheque from William Hill and a day at the races. The ‘Sports Book of the Year’ award, is William Hill’s longest commitment to any sponsorship in its corporate history. 

“One of the features of the Award is that all the short-listed authors, alongside their generous prize money, also receive a four figure free bet. I was party to a very interesting discussion between one of the authors, who shall remain namelss, and his wife. He is determined to go for it and try for a rewarding accumulator, whereas his wife was equally determined that he should find a two horse race and put half of his free bet on each of the runners to guarantee a return. I shall watch closely to see which approach to gambling prevails in that household!” Sharpe added. 

Totally Gaming says: William Hill's association with sports literature is thanks to the long term thinking of its media relations guru Graham Sharpe and is a good example of how the industry can connect with its customers outside of the typical gambling environment.

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