May 26, 2022

Footballer Marcus Rashford’s mum accepts Book of the Year award on his behalf


A mural of Marcus Rashford in Greater Manchester, shortly after Euro 2021 (© Copyright Gerald England via Geograph under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last year we followed the fortunes of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford as he campaigned for a continuation of free school meals during the pandemic; launched his own reading club; and published his first (bestselling) book, You Are a Champion: How to Be the Best You Can Be, with Macmillan.

Oh, and there was also the small matter of almost winning the European Championship with England, who reached their first major tournament final since 1966. But we won’t dwell on that.

This week You Are a Champion triumphed at the British Book Awards (a.k.a. “the Nibbies”) to win the coveted Book of the Year Award, holding off competition from Paul McCartney, Billy Connolly, and Marian Keyes.

A BBC report from the evening carries a quote from Rashford’s pre-recorded message:

Every child should pick up the book and believe that I wrote it for them… I want to give a huge thanks to Macmillan for believing in me and believing in the process, and a big thanks to Carl [Anka, the journalist who co-wrote the book with Rashford] as well because he played a massive role in the book being completed. Without him it wouldn’t have been able to run so smoothly.

The reason I made the book and the purpose of the book was to give kids the opportunity that I never had but as I got older it is something that is really important… I think the way that the book has been perceived and the reception it has got and the actual words that I have heard from a lot of the kids – they have taken different stuff from the book, which is what I intended to do.

With Rashford unavailable to accept the award on the night, a special delegate was dispatched to collect the trophy in his stead: his mum! You can see her lovely acceptance (and apology) speech here.

…And there was even more nice news for Rashford this week, as he announced his engagement to childhood sweetheart Lucia Loi.

Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.