The best sports book award winner announced



Australia is gaining a culture of quality sports books, most of them published by Malarkey. Here’s a few excerpts from this year’s crop in the Old Dart (still no footy).



And here’s the winner:




  1. I read David Walsh’s “Seven Deadly Sins” earlier this year. C’est magnifique! I would recommend it to anyone – especially first year journalism students.

    Read (un-intentionally, I need to add) alongside Essendon’s supplements saga this year, you have to wonder how many footy journo’s out there are mere “fans with typewriters” versus genuine news-hounds dedicated to unearthing stories people in the game would rather you didn’t know so as to ‘protect the brand’.

    Sports journalism needs to be more of “so what did Joseph and Mary do with the gold the three wise men brought to the stable*?” and less “Mate, how do you feel after that?”

    *Will make sense if you’ve read ‘Seven Deadly Sins’

  2. “Seven Deadly Sins” was brilliant – recommend it without hesitation.

    But for me, my favourite sports book of the year was John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son”.

    There’s a lack of coherency around the personal narrative and the miscellany on the history of the horse, but such is the strength of the former, it hardly matters.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    ‘The Perfect Mile’, can’t recall by whom; about the pursuit of the sub-four minute mile; John King’s ‘Football Factory Trilogy’; ‘The Coach’; ‘Left Foot Forward’, again can’t recall author; a memoir of a lower grade English footballer. A good insight.

  4. Hard to top Seven Deadly Sins. The parallels with the Essendon saga – the vested interests, the shonky, dangerous practices, the groupthink/pressure on team members and conflicting media narratives, not to mention the pharmaceutical Dr Frankensteins like Ferraro and Dank, was astounding.

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    Sean Gorman ‘Brotherboys’

  6. Chris Weaver says

    Duncan Hamilton’s “Immortal” (his biography of George Best) was stiff to miss out.

    I don’t understand all the love from the critics for I Am Zlatan – he presents himself as a boorish megalomaniac, an image reinforced by the excerpts I’ve read.

    As ever, the best sports writing digs deeper than just being about sport.

  7. If you are a Sinophile I would recommend Brave Dragons by Jim Yardley. A fascinating insight into the politics of Chinese sport.

  8. nathan jarvis says

    This is yet another cheap Guardian ploy to create attention through controversy. No Brotherboys, no Origin of the Speccies – it’s worse than a joke.

    Do we still call online newspapers “bloody rags”?

  9. Brian Matthews , Oval Dreams.

  10. ‘Footy Town’ is the best sports book published this year that I have read. Laughed and lamented in equal measure.
    D Sharpen; T Chapman; M Sexton and T Robb among those fighting for BOG.

  11. Just reading the excerpts makes me want to immediately start reading every one of the books in that list. But first, based on opinions in this strand I’ll get Seven Deadly Sins. Thanks

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Likewise Rick A book I can not speak highly enough is , From the ground up by
    John Coutis he is a gentleman with no legs he is good mates with , Steve Waugh and has a sporting pulse to the story . The Rose boys is a beauty as well although I think the latest issue of , The Footy Almanac and I agree Peter B with a nomination for ,
    Clinton Rules Ok re Footy Towns

  13. Paul Daffey says

    Hi all,

    Here’s the results of the sports book award.

    Apparently the result is a surprise.


  14. Love the sounds of most of these books (only the genetics book doesn’t thrill me, perhaps because I studied it at university), but here’s the winner:

  15. Stephanie Holt says

    I’ll second Andrew Starkie on The Perfect Mile as a gem of sport history writing. (And no, cant’ remember author name either). Lovely weaving of three parallel stories, contrasting characters, struggles, contexts, beautifully handled. And I’m no athletics fans.

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