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Former deputy editor wins major sports book prize

A former deputy editor who penned an evocative biography of a “sadly neglected” regional press cricket writer has won his third major award for sporting books.

Cricket bible Wisden has today named Duncan Hamilton’s Sweet Summers – The Cricket Writing of JM Kilburn as its Book of the Year 2009.

JM Kilburn was the cricket correspondent of the Yorkshire Post for 42 years from 1934 until his retirement in 1976, his career spanning the eras of Sir Len Hutton and Geoffrey Boycott.

Duncan, who was deputy editor of the Post until he took redundancy last year, decided to write about him in an attempt to bring his work to a new and wider audience.

He said: “I thought that JM Kilburn had been sadly and unjustly neglected since his retirement. His cricket writing, in my view, was so good it demanded to be revitalised and brought to a new audience, and so Sweet Summers was born.

“This accolade from Wisden is the icing on the cake. I’d love to think that Sweet Summers would encourage people to go out and discover Kilburn’s earlier books.”

The Wisden award is Duncan’s third major prize for sporting books, following his success with his Brian Clough memoir Provided You Don’t Kiss Me.

That won him both the William Hill Sport Book of the Year in 2007 and Best Football Book at the British Sports Book Awards in 2008.

Announcing Sweet Summers as the Wisden Book of the Year, editor Patrick Collins said Kilburn’s work “deserves to be read for as long as cricket is played.

“Those of us who were shamefully unfamiliar with Kilburn’s work are indebted to Duncan Hamilton for compiling and editing Sweet Summers.”

  • Sweet Summers: The Classic Cricket Writing of JM Kilburn, edited by Duncan Hamilton, with an introduction by Geoffrey Boycott, is published in hardback, £16.99, by Great Northern Books. Tel 01274 735056 or


    Cricket lover (08/04/2009 11:15:50)
    I hope JM Kilburn’s family will actually benefit in a financial sense from having his hard work republished by someone else. Will it ?

    Cricket hater (09/04/2009 09:32:41)
    Sounds like cricket lover is a bitter little man

    umpire (09/04/2009 15:49:29)
    I think ‘cricket lover’ has a valid point. If your dad was a great cricket writer and someone republished all his stuff after his death, surely you’d expect to get something from the old man’s efforts. Fair’s fair.

    Keith Farnsworth (03/08/2009 18:29:24)
    Personally, I think it is just great that Jim Kilburn’s work has been brought to the attention of a younger generation. I don’t imagine the author will have made much out of it financially –I know from my own experience that you get next to nowt for producing a book. In any event, the real copyright of JMK’s work for the YP (where most of the pieces originated) belongs with the YP. I am sure that if the new book should make a fortune, the author will pass on a few bob to Jim’s family. But I’ll bet Jim is smiling down from Up There, and thinking how good it is to be remembered!