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Short list announced for the cricket society and MCC Book of the Year Award 2013

  • Former county cricketer turned writer Peter Gibbs’s realistic and racy cricket novel and a blagger’s Indian tale by comedian and presenter Miles Jupp are surprise contenders for the coveted annual Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award.
  • Six books, including two from Australia, are in the frame for the £3000 prize, which will be presented to the winner by Church of England priest and former cricketer Andrew Wingfield Digby on Monday 15 April in the Long Room at Lord’s.

The 2013 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award short list is announced today.  The six-strong list includes books about Australian icon Shane Warne and the less well-known but remarkable George Chesterton.  One author brings to life a range of nineteenth and early twentieth Australian and English cricketers and another writes about a press corps infiltrator reports on an England Test series in India. Two books by former county cricketers complete the list. One’s imaginary characters inhabit a 1969 county cricket match. The other examines the effects on England’s cricketing fortunes of their current  and former Zimbabwean coaches Andy Flower and Duncan Fletcher.

Chair of judges Vic Marks said: “"It has been hard enough to finalise a short list of six.  It will be trickier still to find a winner from such a contrasting selection of books.  Fortunately we have a wise panel of judges who are up to the task."

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, Chris Waters, who wrote a book about Fred Trueman, commented upon accepting the award: “I genuinely didn’t expect to win, which you probably gathered from my garbled speech, but it is an award that I will always treasure.”  In 2011 Guardian columnist Harry Pearson: “I was amazed.  Following Yorkshire since the early seventies hasn't exactly prepared me for success.”  While in 2010 a prolonged search of the dustbins at Lord’s failed to locate Anthony Gibson’s excitedly discarded winning cheque.

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 15 April.  A sell-out audience of 200 people will consist of members of the Cricket Society and MCC, the shortlisted authors and their publishers, and many of today’s finest cricket writers and journalists, including members of the Cricket Writers Club.

Notes for editors:

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

  1. Peter Gibbs: Settling the Score. Methuen
  2. Gideon Haigh: On Warne. Simon and Schuster
  3. Steve James: The Plan: How Fletcher and Fowler Transformed English Cricket. Bantam Books
  4. Miles Jupp: Fibber in the Heat, Following England in India, A Blagger’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

The other thirteen books considered (alphabetically by author):

  1. Tony Barker: Keith Carmody: Keith Miller’s Favourite Captain. ACS
  2. Peter Baxter: Can Anyone Hear Me? Testing Times With Test Match Special on Tour. Corinthian Books
  3. Keith Booth: Tom Richardson, A Bowler Pure and Simple. ACS
  4. Stephen Chalke: Micky Stewart and the Changing Face of Cricket. Fairfield Books
  5. Max Davidson: We’ll Get ‘em in Sequins. Wisden Sports Writing
  6. Ed Hawkins: Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld. Bloomsbury
  7. Alan Hill: The Valiant Cricketer, The Biography of Trevor Bailey. Pitch Publishin
  8. Christopher Martin-Jenkins: CMJ: A Cricketing Life. Simon and Schuster
  9. Paul Nixon and Jon Colman: Keeping Quiet. The History Press
  10. Tom Rodwell: Third Man in Havana, Finding the Heart of Cricket in the Most Unlikely Places. Corinthian Books
  11. Keith Walmsley: Brief Candles – McMaster, Hyland and Other One-Match Wonders. ACS
  12. David Warner: The Sweetest Rose, 150 Years of Yorkshire Cricket. Great Northern Books
  13. Charles Williams: Gentlemen and Players, The Death of Amateurism in Cricket. Weidenfeld and Nicholson

Nineteen books – nominated by either Cricket Society or MCC members (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.

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.

- Ends –

For further information on this story please contact:

Neil Robinson  – 0207 616 8559 or

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