Australian writer Anna Krien collected a £26,000 cheque for her win with Night Games at the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Her book beat a memoir by the former rugby star Gareth Thomas and biographies of Bobby Moore and John Curry.
Described as a “balanced yet fearless” investigation into the darkest recesses of sporting culture, the judges said it was a “painstaking, intelligent, but above all, open-minded examination of an immensely complicated area”
Night Games follows the controversial rape trial of an Aussie Rules player, focusing on what Krien – only the second woman to take the award following Laura Hillenbrand for Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse in 2001 – describes as the “grey area” of sexual consent.
William Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe said: “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.”