'Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary', a dramatic expose of professional French rugby by former Wellington Lions player John Daniell, has been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, it was announced today in London.
The world's richest sports book prize, the William Hill offers the winner a 21,000 cash prize, a 2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races. Daniell's book has had quite a journey. It was first published as 'Inside French Rugby: Confessions of a Kiwi Mercenary' in New Zealand by independent Welington publisher Awa Press, after it had been turned down by around 30 UK publishers.
Publisher Mary Varnham said the book was an exceptionally honest and well- written account of a year in the life of a professional rugby player. ' We had no hesitation about publishing it, even though we knew the market in New Zealand would be small.'
When Awa Press then distributed the book in the UK it received strong reviews in the Observer, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.
The publisher, who also publishes leading rugby writer Spiro Zavos, then sold rights for UK, Europe and South Africa to Ebury Press, a division of Random House UK. 'Only books published by British publishers are eligible for entry in the William Hill award, and this was the only way to achieve it,' Mary Varnham said today from the Frankfurt Book Fair.
'We are delighted that John's book has now received this recognition'.
The winner of the prize will be announced on November 26.
Join Voxy on Google+.