29 not out! Record entry rate for William Hill’s literature contest

29 not out! Record entry rate for William Hill’s literature contest

Monday, December 4, 2017 Posted by Luke Massey
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Andy McGrath was the 2017 winner for his biography of Tom Simpson

William Hill has refuted any suggestion that traditional books are becoming less popular, after taking a record number of entries for the 29th running of its sports literature competition.

This year’s ‘William Hill Sports Book of the Year’ (WHSBOTY) prize was claimed by Andy McGrath, for his British cycling biography titled ‘Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire’.

The editor of Rouleur Magazine beat off competition from entries such as David Bolchover’s ‘The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory’, Jonathan Eig’s ‘Ali: A Life’ and Ian Herbert’s ‘Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager’.

The judging panel, chaired by William Hill’s Media Relations Director Graham Sharpe, concluded that McGrath had successfully captured the character of Simpson, the first British rider to wear the yellow jersey in the 1962 Tour de France.

Sharpe told TotallyGaming.com: “As one of the founders of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year almost thirty years ago now, I'm happy to tell you that this year we attracted record 131 entries for what remains the oldest, most valuable and most prestigious prize of its type in the world.

“I think that stat gives its own slant to any suggestions that books are becoming less popular in the digital age. Rather like how vinyl records (of which I must confess to being a lifelong lover) are making a spirited comeback, books - and particularly sporting-themed ones - are showing no signs of a diminishing appeal. It is certainly true that no kindle/eBook-only publication has ever reached the final stages of the William Hill.”

Sharpe also teased plans for the 30th year of WHSBOTY, which will see William Hill try to re-unite all the surviving winning authors to celebrate the anniversary.

“We try to remain in contact with them after their victory, but they obviously have busy lives of their own to lead,” he added. “For example, this year's winner, Andy McGrath, told me last night that the prize was a 'life-changing' moment for him.

“Maybe Lance Armstrong didn't regard his own victory for 'It's All About The Bike' in 2000 in the same way - although he did use his free bet to back himself to win the Tour de France!”

Totally Gaming says: William Hill continues to defy the growing digitalisation of sports content by maintaining this traditional literature prize. Andy McGrath receives a £29,000 cheque, a £2,500 free bet and a day at the races for his biography, the fourth cycling based book to win the contest.

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