Duncan Hamilton became the first author to win three awards for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year (SBOTY), as judges recognised his biography of Neville Cardus as the best sports literature of 2019.
William Hill judges presented Hamilton with his third SBOTY award yesterday at the Horseguards Hotel in London, having previously won’ Provided You Don’t Kiss Me’ in 2007 and’ Harold Larwood: The Authorized Biography’ in 2009.
Praising’ The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus ‘ –judges said Hamilton had provided a detailed biography of an author who would transform the view and perception of sports journalism and writing.
Reading and reporting on cricket during the 1940-70s would overshadow the work of Cardus at a time of great social change in UK society.
PG Wodehouse, John Arlott, Harold Pinter, JB Priestley, and Donald Bradman were among those who venerated Cardus.
Hamilton illustrated how Cardus popularised cricket writing in The Great Romantic. In the words of Cardus, he became a celebrity in his own right with elegant phrasing, contempt for numbers, and a penchant for literary and musical allusions to people who’ didn’t know a leg-break from the Lord’s pavilion pet.
SBOTY Judges Chair Alyson Rudd commented: “The judges were bowled over by the quality of the writing and the way in which Hamilton brings to life the characters that defined cricket between the two world wars. The author explains that Neville Cardus was unknowable but this book does a very fine job indeed of guiding us through his career and motivations.”