Two books about W.G. Grace feature on the 2016 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award shortlist, which is announced today.
Richard Tomlinson’s fresh look at the man and his times and Charlie Connelly’s imaginative recreation of W.G.’s latter years are both part of a six-strong list.
Former winners Stephen Chalke and Scyld Berry compete again with wide-ranging books about, respectively, the County Championship and ’The Game of Life’.
Books about cricket in the West Indies and a forensic examination of the life and death of Peter Roebuck complete the list.
Chair of judges, the former England all-rounder Vic Marks said: "It was an extraordinary year for books about cricket.
"Two volumes initially strongly favoured by my judges haven’t even made the short list. One judge has referred to the possibility of fisticuffs!
"Our final meeting is likely to be long but I am sure we can resolve differences amicably and come up with a worthy winner."
The competition, 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.
Last year’s winner was Dan Waddell’s Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937. James Astill won in 2014 with The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India.
The £3000 for the winner, and certificates for all the shortlisted books, will be presented at an awards evening in the Long Room at Lord’s on Monday 11 April.
A sell-out audience of 200 people will comprise Members of the Cricket Society and MCC, the shortlisted authors, publishers, and some of today’s finest cricket writers and journalists.
Seventeen books – nominated by either Cricket Society or MCC members (not publishers) – were accepted for the long list and whittled down to six by a panel of judges independently chaired by writer and broadcaster and former England and Somerset cricketer Vic Marks.
The other judges are David Kynaston and Stephen Fay (MCC) and John Symons and Chris Lowe (The Cricket Society). Nigel Hancock, Chairman of The Cricket Society, is the competition’s administrator.
The six books on the shortlist (alphabetically by author):
Scyld Berry’s Cricket The Game of Life: Every Reason to Celebrate (Hodder & Stoughton)
Stephen Chalke’s Summer's Crown: The Story of Cricket’s County Championship (Fairfield Books)
Charlie Connelly’s Gilbert: The Last Years of WG Grace (Bloomsbury)
Tim Lane and Elliott Cartledge’s Chasing Shadows: The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck (Hardie Grant)
Simon Lister’s Fire in Babylon: How the West Indies Cricket Team Brought a People to its Feet (Yellow Jersey Press)
Richard Tomlinson’s Amazing Grace: The Man who was W.G. (Little, Brown)
The other eleven books considered (alphabetically by author):
Dean Allen’s Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa (Zebra Press)
Michael Burns’s A Flick of the Fingers: The Chequered Life and Career of Jack Crawford (Pitch Publishing)
Simon Jones’s The Test: My Life and the Inside Story of the Greatest Ashes Series (Yellow Jersey)
Tim Jones’s Don Kenyon: His Own Man (Amberley Publishing)
Anthony Meredith’s W.G. Grace: In the Steps of a Legend (Amberley Publishing)
Andrew Murtagh’s Sundial in The Shade: The Story of Barry Richards (Pitch Publishing)
Neil Robinson’s Long Shot Summer: The Year of the Four England Cricket Captains, 1988 (Amberley)
Arunabha Sengupta’s Sherlock Holmes and the Birth of the Ashes (Best Mysteries)
Colin Shindler’s The Professional Amateur: The Cricketing Life of Bob Barber (Max Books)
Simon Sweetman’s Dimming of the Day: The Cricket Season of 1914 (ACS)
David Tossell’s Sex & Drugs & Rebel Tours: The England Cricket Team in the 1980s (Pitch Publishing)