“Bookie Prize” runner-up

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“Bookie Prize” runner-up


Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson, by Paul Kimmage (Simon & Schuster)

engage-book_matt_hampsonThe book about his accident, and his subsequent story, was shortlisted for the prestigious William Hill “Bookie Prize”.

‘Engage!’ was the last word Matt Hampson heard before dislocating his neck while in rugby training with other young England hopefuls. On a cold, grey, overcast day in 2005, the cream of young English rugby gathered at a Northampton training ground. Matt Hampson, ‘Hambo’ to his mates, was one of them.

On Monday 28th November, the winner was announced. The result was described as being a very close competition for top place between two books, one of which was Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson. Although in the end it was not the overall winner, the judges declared it to be an extremely close result.

[Editor’s note: Matt Hampson spent some time at Stoke Mandeville as part of his treatment and recovery]

The winner was Ronald Reng’s book, A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke (the German National Team goalie)

Sports book of the year 2011 -
Matt Hampson shortlisted

(as reported on William Hill website, prior to the results being announced)

Paul Kimmage, winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award back in 1990, has been shortlisted for this year’s prize for his acclaimed book Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson, despite it not being submitted for the prize.

The shortlist for this year’s ‘Bookie Prize’, the richest award of its type anywhere in the world, will consist of seven titles rather than six, to reflect the late addition of Kimmage’s moving story of the England Under 21 rugby player left paralysed from the neck down after a collapsed scrum.

“Although the book had not been submitted for the prize at the time our longlist was announced, the members of our judging panel nevertheless agreed to consider it once it was brought to their attention, the outcome being that they have indicated they feel it merits inclusion on the shortlist”, said Award spokesman Graham Sharpe of William Hill.

Sharpe continued, “We would normally have selected six titles for the shortlist but the addition of Engage means there will be a magnificent seven titles this year, so no other author has been denied a place by its inclusion. This decision takes into account the feeling that it would be unfair to penalise a blameless author and subject.”