Ashley Gray's The Unforgiven is on the five-book shortlist for the 32nd annual William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards - the world’s oldest and richest sports writing prize. 

Gray's book, which tells the stories of the West Indian cricketers shunned after taking part in rebel tours of apartheid South Africa, has been met with critical acclaim across the sporting press, here in the UK, in the West Indies and in his native Australia.

It was the early 80s, when 20 black West Indian cricketers were paid more than $100,000 each to go and play cricket in South Africa.

Some, such as Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharran, were household names in the Caribbean and around the world, while others were fringe players seeking a short cut out of poverty.

All would be condemned by the international cricketing fraternity. Accused of pocketing 'blood money' in order to prop up a regime that systematically discriminated against people of their own colour, they were banned for life from playing the sport they loved.

In many cases, they were shunned by their fellow countrymen. A few turned to drugs and gangs, some turned to God - and others found themselves begging on the streets and dealing with mental illness.

Forgotten and neglected for close to four decades, The Unforgiven tells their often-tragic stories through face-to-face interviews that explore the human cost of an onerous decision made early in these young men's lives.

"Sometimes it helps to come at these things from an angle. There's an excellent new book about cricket and race called The Unforgiven by the Australian writer Ashley Gray. The Unforgiven tells the story of West Indian rebel tours to apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, focusing on the later lives of those players who took the Blood Rand." - Barney Ronay, The Guardian

The 2020 winner will be announced on Thursday, 3rd December at the new home of the WHSBOTY, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

The winner, decided by the judging panel chaired by Alyson Rudd, will collect a cheque for £30,000 and the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year trophy.

Last year’s grand prize winner, Duncan Hamilton, remains the only author to have won the award three times, taking top honours in 2019 for his biography The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus – and has since become a Sunday Times Bestseller.

Other famous winners include Nick Hornby, Brian Moore, Marcus Trescothick, and two-time winner Donald McRae.

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