Cricket broadcaster and ex-Hampshire captain Mark Nicholas has been named the winner of the 2017 Cricket Society & MCC Book of the Year Award for A Beautiful Game, My love affair with cricket.
Nicholas accepted the prestigious award, along with a £3,000 prize, at a dinner in the Long Room at Lord’s.
He beat off strong opposition from five other books, including Graeme Fowler’s autobiography, as well as, a book about Pakistan Cricket and Alan Butcher’s The Good Murungu.
A delighted Nicholas paid tribute to his fellow authors by saying: “The long history of this game, its writers and its poets, is something for us to savour.”
Former England cricketer Vic Marks surveyed the books considered by the judges, outlined the challenges of choosing the shortlist and then a winner, and commented in detail on each of the six finalists.
He complimented Nicholas’ book for its “unique personal insights, reflections and recollections”.
In a keynote address, Downton Abbey star Jim Carter offered an entertaining account of the links between cricket and the theatre, including many takes of the autocratic former England captain, and founder of the Hollywood Cricket Club, Sir Charles Aubrey Smith.
The competition, run by The Cricket Society since 1970 and in partnership with MCC since 2009, is for books nominated by Members and not publishers and is highly regarded by writers and publishers.
A previous winner, former Wisden editor Scyld Berry, hailed Nicholas’s award as “cricket’s seal of literary approval”.
The six books on the shortlist (alphabetically by author) were:
|Alan Butcher||The Good Murungu||Pitch Publishing|
|Graeme Fowler||Absolutely Foxed||Simon & Schuster|
|Gideon Haigh||Stroke of Genius||Simon & Schuster|
|Richard Heller and Peter Oborne||White on Green: A Portrait of Pakistan Cricket||Simon & Schuster|
Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket
|Mark Nicholas||A Beautiful Game: My Love Affair with Cricket||Allen & Unwin|