Ronald Reng Wins World’s Oldest And Richest Sports Book Prize Winner Of ‘bookie Prize’ Revealed

Celebrated journalist Ronald Reng was today announced the winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011, for A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke. One of the greatest honours in sportswriting, Reng’s biography of Robert Enke, the German national goalkeeper who suffered from depression and took his own life two years ago, was praised by the judging panel for its powerful and insightful nature as well as its sensitivity and sincerity.

A Life Too Short examines the tumultuous life and untimely demise of a man who, from the outside, appeared to have it all. It tells the tragedy of Enke’s struggles against his own demons and brings into sharp relief the demands and fears faced by those who play top-level sport.

First published in Germany (as Robert Enke: Ein allzu kurzes Leben), Reng’s book was met with widespread praise and soon became an international bestseller. Translated into English by Shaun Whiteside and published by Yellow Jersey Press in the UK earlier this autumn, it represents the first translated title to have won the prize.

William Hill spokesman and co-founder of the prize, Graham Sharpe, said: “Robert Enke was one of Germany’s greatest goalkeepers and his tragic death shocked the world. Ronald Reng’s intimate portrait – vivid, powerful and moving – is an outstanding piece of sportswriting and a very worthy winner of the prize”.

Acclaimed sports journalist Ronald Reng has written for a variety of publications across Europe and is also the author of The Keeper of Dreams: One Man’s Controversial Story of Life in the English Premiership, the story of goalkeeper Lars Leese and his time at Barnsley. Reng first met Robert Enke in 2002. The two men soon became friends, and though they never discussed Enke’s depression, it was their intention to one day work together on his autobiography.

Reng was named the winner of the 23rd William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award at a lunchtime ceremony at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, Europe’s biggest bookstore. As well as a £23,000 cheque, presented by prize judge and broadcaster John Inverdale and last year’s winner Brian Moore, Reng also receives a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of his book, and a day at the races.


For further information please contact Anwen Hooson at Riot Communications on
020 3174 0118 / 07899 798885 / or
Graham Sharpe, William Hill Media Relations Director on 020 8918 3731 / 07803 233702.

• This year’s prize was open to any full-length book, providing the subject was predominantly sporting, published for the first time in the UK between 30th September 2010 and 29th September 2011.
• The runners up for this year’s award will receive £3,000 cash, a leather-bound copy of their book, and a free £1,000 bet. Longlisted authors received a free £500 bet and a certificate. The total prize fund for this year’s award is over £50,000.

• The judging panel for this year’s award consisted of broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; broadcaster Danny Kelly; and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd. Chairman of the judging panel was John Gaustad, co-creator of the award and founder of the Sportspages bookshop.

• The shortlist for this year’s award was made up of seven titles rather than the usual six, to reflect the late addition of Paul Kimmage’s Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson. The shortlist in full:
1. Among The Fans: From Ashes to the Arrows, a Year of Watching the Watchers by Patrick Collins (Wisden Sports Writing)
2. Into The Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight by Alexander Fiske-Harrison (Profile Books)
3. The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop by Bill Jones (Mainstream Publishing)
4. Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson by Paul Kimmage (Simon & Schuster)
5. Racing Through The Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar by David Millar (Orion)
6. A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng (Yellow Jersey Press)
7. 32 Programmes by Dave Roberts (Bantam Press)

2010 – Beware of the Dog: Rugby’s Hardman Reveals All by Brian Moore
2009 – Harold Larwood: The Authorized Biography of the World’s Fastest Bowler by Duncan Hamilton
2008 – Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography by Marcus Trescothick
2007 – Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough by Duncan Hamilton
2006 – Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey Ward
2005 – My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach
2004 – Basil D’Oliveira: Cricket and Controversy by Peter Oborne
2003 – Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football by Tom Bower
2002 – In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens by Donald McRae
2001 – Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse by Laura Hillenbrand
2000 – It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong
1999 – A Social History of English Cricket by Derek Birley
1998 – Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police by Robert Twigger
1997 – A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment – A County Cricketer’s Life by Simon Hughes
1996 – Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing by Donald McRae
1995 – A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein
1994 – Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper
1993 – Endless Winter: The Inside Story of the Rugby Revolution by Stephen Jones
1992 – Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
1991 – Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser
1990 – Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel with a Pro Cyclist by Paul Kimmage
1989 – True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski and Patrick Robinson

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