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Gideon Haigh's "On Warne" wins the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award 2013

  • Acclaimed Australian cricket writer Gideon Haigh announced as the winner of the 2013 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year award, for his book “On Warne”.
  • Prominent clergyman and former first class cricketer Andrew Wingfield Digby presents the £3000 prize money in front of a packed Lord’s Long Room.
  • Haigh bats-off competition from five other shortlisted books, including a much liked cricket and relationships novel by county cricketer turned author Peter Gibbs.
  • Forty-four year old competition, run in partnership between The Cricket Society and MCC since 2009, praised by MCC Arts & Library Chairman, Alastair Lack, as a highlight of the cricketing year.

An Oscar-style countdown took place in the Lord’s Long Room on Monday 15h April as it was announced that Australian cricket writer, Gideon Haigh, had won the 2013 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award, for his book “On Warne”.  Simon and Schuster’s Ian Marshall accepted the award and a cheque for £3000 on behalf of Haigh, in front of an appreciative audience, which included MCC and Cricket Society Members, authors and their publishers, and guest cricketing journalists and writers.

All short listed authors or their representatives spoke about their work, with Haigh (via Marshall) assuring the audience that “Shane Warne is every bit as much fun to write about as he was to watch, and would be pleased to be recognised in this way – he had never managed to get his name on the Honours Board at Lord’s.”

Chair of judges Vic Marks surveyed the books considered by the judges and commented in detail on each of the six that had been short listed.  Commenting on Haigh’s effort, Marks said “On Warne”: “was commendably short, cleverly and unusually structured, and overall a convincing description of one of the greatest of cricketers.”  Marks went on to outline the challenges of choosing the short list and then a winner.  Keynote speaker Andrew Wingfield Digby spoke about his cricketing memories, including his time as spiritual adviser to the England cricket team, and paid tribute to Christopher Martin-Jenkins who had keenly supported the competition.

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 delighted winner, former Wisden editor Scyld Berry, hailed his award as “cricket’s seal of literary approval”, while three years ago a prolonged search of the Lord’s dustbins failed to locate Anthony Gibson’s excitedly discarded winning cheque.


Notes for editors:

The six books on the shortlist (alphabetically by author) were:

  1. Peter Gibbs: Settling the Score. Methuen
  2. Gideon Haigh: On Warne. Simon and Schuster
  3. Steve James: The Plan: How Fletcher and Flower Transformed English Cricket. Bantam Books
  4. Miles Jupp: Fibber in the Heat, Following England in India, A Blogger’s Tale. Ebury Press
  5. Malcolm Knox: Never a Gentlemen’s Game. Hardie Grant
  6. Andrew Murtagh: A Remarkable Man, The Story of George Chesterton. Shire Publications

A long list of nineteen books from those nominated by either The Cricket Society or MCC Members and not publishers were 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 is the competition’s administrator and Chairman of the Cricket Society.

The Cricket Society – and Twitter @CricketSociety –  encourages a love of cricket through playing, watching, reading and listening.  It supports young cricketers, makes annual awards, holds regular meetings, publishes an acclaimed journal and has a cricket team. 

MCC is the custodian of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket, an innovative independent voice in world cricket, and a passionate promoter of the game.  It is also the world’s most active cricket-playing club and the owner of Lord’s – The Home of Cricket.

The partnership agreement between the Cricket Society and MCC, which currently runs until 2014, is expected to be renewed shortly.


For further information on this story please contact:

Neil Robinson – 0207 616 8559 or

For photos please call Clare Skinner at MCC on 07960 869826

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