Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Friday, May 06, 2016
Cross Sports Book Awards Recognise Kiwis
Kiwi rugby player’s debut novel lines up against Pulitzer winner for prestige award.
A former New Zealand Colt’s dark story about match-fixing is shortlisted alongside some of the writing world’s heaviest hitters in the UK’s prestigious Cross Sports Book Awards.
John Daniell’s first novel The Fixer is in competition with a field of five others headed by William Finnegan’s Pulitzer prize-winning take on surfing, Barbarian Days, for the General Outstanding Sports Writing Award. The winner will be announced at Lord’s cricket ground on June 1.
The nomination is a victory for independent Kiwi publisher Upstart Press, who also have New Zealand’s only other nominee. Dan Carter’s autobiography written with Duncan Greive is shortlisted in the International Sports Autobiography category. Upstart Press Director Kevin Chapman says “We are very proud of the quality of NZ writing at any time, and for us to have a novel and an autobiography on a UK shortlist is testament to how good our writers and stories are”.
Daniell says he’s “blown away” by the honour. “These guys are heavyweights, they’re hugely experienced and writing about big subjects from Roger Federer to Usain Bolt, the joy of surfing to the limits of marathon runners’ endurance. For a work of fiction to be considered good enough to stand alongside them is totally unexpected.”
New Zealand’s most respected sports doctor, former All Black physician John Mayhew describes The Fixer as ‘not just a very good read, but an important work in the age of rugby professionalism. Although this book is ostensibly a work of fiction, there is a real authenticity about it. I hope New Zealanders read it. The underlying message is so important.’
Daniell’s previous book, the autobiographical Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary, won Best Rugby Book at the awards in 2010 ahead of English journalist Stephen Jones’s biography of Lions coach Ian McGeechan.