It has just been announced that my book, Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight has been promoted from the longlist for the world’s richest sports writing prize, the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award 2011, onto the six-strong short list.
I should like to say that without the friendship and courage of the matadors of Spain, most particularly my Maestro Eduardo Dávila Miura and my friend Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez, this book would never have existed. However, the greatest thanks of all are owed to the first matador I met, the Cyclone from Jerez, Juan José Padilla, who is even now recuperating from a hideous near-fatal goring and preparing himself for further surgical intervention in Seville next week in the hope they can restore the sight to his left eye after the bull’s horn took it away (see earlier blogposts.)
Padilla appears first in the book in chapter 2, introduced to me by his and my friend, the politicó and amateur bullfighter Adolfo Suárez Illana (son of Spain’s first democratic prime minister). Padilla is chapter three when I spend twenty hours with him training, drinking and dancing, and he is present in chapter four when I first enter the ring myself. He really is chapter six when I see him fight for the first time, and he saves my skin in chapter seven when I enter the ring again.
Strength, my Spanish brother…
P.S. The book has had great reviews (see next post, ‘Welcome’), and can be purchased at half price from Amazon UK here, or at all major British bookshops.
Short-list in full (from The Bookseller):
Among The Fans: From Ashes to the Arrows, a Year of Watching the Watchers by Patrick Collins (Wisden Sports Writing)
Into The Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight by Alexander Fiske-Harrison (Profile Books)
The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop by Bill Jones (Mainstream Publishing)
Racing Through The Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar by David Millar (Orion)
A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng (Yellow Jersey Press)
32 Programmes by Dave Roberts (Bantam Press)
With the late addition of a book which was not on the longlist, but has been included as William Hill failed to include it in the books to be selected from despite qualifying.
Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson by Paul Kimmage (Simon & Schuster)