2018 William Hill Sports Book of the Year: Winners
For the first time in the Awards history, the prize was awarded to two books, with boxing and swimming taking the honours. Indeed, Tom Gregory’s book A Boy in the Water, is the first swimming related title to capture the prize.
The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by Paul D. Gibson, is the fourth boxing book to take the crown following on from 1991 winner, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing in 1996 and 2006 winner, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.
Brief details of the winners:
The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by Paul D. Gibson (Mercier Press)
Eamonn Magee is widely regarded as one of the most gifted fighters to ever emerge from Ireland. Yet, despite becoming a world champion in 2003, drink, drugs, gambling, depression and brushes with the law all took Eamonn away from his craft. Then there was the violence: a throat slashed, an IRA bullet in the calf, a savage, leg-shattering beating, and the brutal murder of his son. The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee is an intimate telling of a barely believable life story, filled with heartache and laughter, violence and love, unthinkable lows and fleeting, glorious highs.
Paul D. Gibson is a former journalist whose work has appeared regularly in the Guardian, on the BBC and Boxing Monthly, amongst many others. His first book, an autobiography of the UFC fighter Dan Hardy, was released in March 2017. Now fully immersed in the professional boxing world, Gibson’s current projects include works on Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory (Particular Books)
On 6 September 1988, aged 11, Tom Gregory became – and will forever remain – officially the youngest person to swim the English Channel, mentored and encouraged by an extraordinary local coach. Tom’s full story has never been told, until now. Written with rare charm, enriched by a vividly-remembered, child’s-eye view of the world, Tom’s story is an inspirational tale of love, courage and opportunity which leaves a lingering question in the mind about the constraints of modern childhood: is there something in this tale that we have lost?
Tom Gregory holds the record of being the youngest person to swim the English Channel. Following a career in the army and investment banking, he now works as a Director for accountancy firm Deloitte. A Boy in the Water is his first book. He lives in Godalming, Surrey, England.
Image credit: William Hill Sports Book of the Year