Ronald Reng wins world's oldest and richest sports book prize
Celebrated journalist Ronald Reng has been announced the winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011, for A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke. One of the greatest honours in sportswriting, Reng’s biography of Robert Enke, the German national goalkeeper who suffered from depression and took his own life two years ago, was praised by the judging panel for its powerful and insightful nature as well as its sensitivity and sincerity.
A Life Too Short examines the tumultuous life and untimely demise of a man who, from the outside, appeared to have it all. It tells the tragedy of Enke’s struggles against his own demons and brings into sharp relief the demands and fears faced by those who play top-level sport.
First published in Germany (as Robert Enke: Ein allzu kurzes Leben), Reng’s book was met with widespread praise and soon became an international bestseller. Translated into English by Shaun Whiteside and published by Yellow Jersey Press in the UK earlier this autumn, it represents the first translated title to have won the prize.
William Hill spokesman and co-founder of the prize, Graham Sharpe, said: "Robert Enke was one of Germany's greatest goalkeepers and his tragic death shocked the world. Ronald Reng's intimate portrait - vivid, powerful and moving - is an outstanding piece of sports writing and a very worthy winner of the prize".
Acclaimed sports journalist Ronald Reng has written for a variety of publications across Europe and is also the author of The Keeper of Dreams: One Man’s Controversial Story of Life in the English Premiership, the story of goalkeeper Lars Leese and his time at Barnsley. Reng first met Robert Enke in 2002. The two men soon became friends, and though they never discussed Enke’s depression, it was their intention to one day work together on his autobiography.
Reng was named the winner of the 23rd William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award at a lunchtime ceremony at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, Europe’s biggest bookstore. As well as a £23,000 cheque, presented by prize judge and broadcaster John Inverdale and last year’s winner Brian Moore, Reng also receives a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of his book, and a day at the races.