Fury’s candidly stark autobiography proves knockout with judges
Tyson Fury has scooped the Telegraph Sports Book of the Year 2020 for his autobiography chronicling his extraordinary recovery from drugs and alcohol despair to winning heavyweight world title belts.
Behind The Mask, which charts the rise and fall and rise again of the self-proclaimed “Gypsy King”, was also named autobiography of the year in a unanimous decision by the judging panel.
The book was one of 10 winners on the night, with Eddie Jones, the England coach, also expressing delight at winning the Rugby Writers’ Book of the Year ahead of efforts from coaching rival Warren Gatland and former Lions captain Sam Warburton.
Jones’s account, My Life and Rugby, co-written with Donald McRae, was described by judges as being told with “unflinching honesty”. “It’s nice that people have enjoyed the book and hopefully they’ve got something out of it as well,” Jones said.
Daily Telegraph cricket writer Tim Wigmore and coauthor Freddie Wilde were among the prizes, with Cricket 2.0 named the Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year. Their book, charting the rise of Twenty20, was already Wisden Cricket Book of the Year.
The National Literacy Trust helped launch the inaugural Children’s Sports Book of the Year, which was handed to Matt Oldfield’s Unbelievable Football. Sir Chris Hoy, England footballer Casey Stoney and BBC Sport’s Clare Balding had also been shortlisted.
The Pinsent Masons International Sports Book of the Year was awarded to Casey Legler’s Godspeed, a raw account of her life as teenage Olympic swimmer and subsequent survival from horrific abuse, alcoholism and drug use. Brian Moore, the Telegraph columnist and chairman of the judging category, said the book was “an amazing and powerful memoir and a worthy winner”.
This year’s General Outstanding Sports Writing Award winner was Mind Games, an insider’s guide to the psychology of elite athletes from Olympic rower Annie Vernon, who won silver in Beijing, alongside Dame Katherine Grainger, Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton.
Adam Sills, Head of Sport at The Telegraph, said: “The Sports Book Awards have delivered another great shortlist and campaign this year. We are happy to be once again supporting these awards and the work they do to highlight outstanding sports writing and publishing.”