An Island’s Eleven, the Story of Sri Lankan Cricket by Nicholas Brookes has won the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award for 2023.
Books by former and current cricketers Wasim Akram, Moeen Ali and Geoffrey Boycott were among those shortlisted, with all six books which made the shortlist celebrated at the award ceremony at Lord’s this week.
Winning author Brookes said: “I am honoured to be on the shortlist with a group of authors whom I deeply respect and revere”, before going on to pay tribute to those who had helped him as an unknown young writer, including fellow-shortlisted authors Tanya Aldred and Tim Wigmore, and writer and historian Peter Oborne.
Chair of judges Robert Winder led the evening, with fellow judge Emma John interviewing authors of the shortlisted books, and with broadcaster Daniel Norcross, new to the judging panel, speaking on the judges’ approach and decision-making processes.
The Stephen Fay Award for 2023 was posthumously made to David Rayvern Allen. The award, which has now been given three times in the name and memory of a distinguished cricket writer, editor and former Book of the Year judge, is for services to cricket writing and publishing.
David Rayvern Allen wrote or edited 40 books and contributed much to the work of both MCC and the Cricket Society. Michael Down, author of David Rayvern Allen: A Man of Many Parts, spoke about the varied life and many accomplishments of ‘DRA’ – interwoven with his twin loves of music and cricket - before the posthumous award was accepted by his widow Rosemary Allen and daughters.
The Book of the Year Award, run by The Cricket Society since 1970 and in partnership with MCC since 2009, is for books nominated by MCC and Cricket Society Members, and is highly regarded by writers and publishers. The 2022 winner was David Woodhouse’s Who Only Cricket Know, Hutton’s Men in the West Indies 1953/54.
The six books on the 2023 shortlist were:
Sultan, A Memoir, Wasim Akram with Gideon Haigh, Hardie Grant
The Legend of Sparkhill, Moeen Ali and Tanya Aldred, Fairfield Books
Being Geoffrey Boycott, A First and Second Hand Account of 108 Caps, Geoffrey Boycott and Jon Hotten, Fairfield Books
An Island’s Eleven, The Story of Sri Lankan Cricket, Nicholas Brookes, The History Press
First of the Summer Wine: George Hirst, Schofield Haigh, Wilfred Rhodes and the Gentle Heart of Yorkshire Cricket, Harry Pearson, Simon & Schuster
Crickonomics: The Anatomy of Modern Cricket, Stefan Szymanski and Tim Wigmore, Bloomsbury Sport