Lauren Fleshman wins William Hill sports book of the year prize – AW

    The retired US distance runner’s autobiography Good for a Girl wins prestigious award

    Laure Fleshman’s book Good for a Girl: My Life Running in a Man’s World has earned great reviews this year and on Thursday (Nov 30) it was named William Hill sports book of the year.

    The prestigious award comes with a £30,000 prize and it is the first book about women in sport, authored by a woman, to win in the 35-year history of the award.

    It is also the first outright book about athletics or running to win the accolade. In 2002 the prize went to In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens whereas in 2020 the winner was The Rodchenkov Affair: How I Brought Down Russia’s Secret Doping Empire, but Fleshman’s book is the first book that is 100% about the No.1 Olympic sport to take the prize.

    Fleshman, 42, finished seventh in the 2011 world 5000m final, won two national titles at 5000m and has a best of 14:58.58. The book is part memoir, part manifesto and is reviewed among a selection of other books in the December issue of AW magazine, which is out next week.

    The judges for the William Hill award praised Good for a Girl for its “heartfelt narrative” and “compelling writing”, as well as its crucial advocacy for reform in sports for young women.

    Lauren Fleshman (Getty)

    Fleshman said: “Having a woman being elevated for telling her own story is rare, and we need a lot more of that.  That’s why awards like this are so important.  I came here optimistic, but then convinced myself I had no chance when I looked at the shortlist.

    “I am delighted to be the winner of this prestigious award. I hope it makes sport better for the future of women and girls.”

    Alyson Rudd, chair of the judging panel for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, said: “We had such an exceptionally high-quality shortlist this year and selecting a winner was no small feat. For the first time, women’s books dominated, showing that more women are being commissioned to tell their stories, with many bravely tackling challenges within the sporting world.

    Good for a Girl is not only a must-read book on the challenges that women face in sport but a moving and informative memoir that will grip those who are not athletics fans. Lauren Fleshman exposes and shatters myths with disarming honesty and exceptional writing – it is a wonderful read and thoroughly deserving of the title William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2023.”

    Fleshman’s rivals in the contest included books on tennis, snooker and rugby.

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