Matt Phillips, Editorial Director at Yellow Jersey Press, has fought off stiff competition from five other publishers to acquire World English Language rights to Fire in Babylon by Simon Lister, the incredible story of the cricket team from the West Indies that dominated the sport between the 1970s and the 1990s, from Charlie Brotherstone at A. M. Heath. Yellow Jersey will publish in 2015 to coincide with the England cricket tour to the West Indies.
Fire in Babylon will tell the extraordinary tale of how, with pace like fire and stroke-play of brutal beauty, the West Indies team became the feared champions of cricket’s empire, playing for a nation that existed only on a field, fighting under a flag that flew only from a pavilion roof. It will reveal why the West Indies triumph meant so much more than victory on the pitch. It will explain how this team brought joy and hope to the scattered and the dispossessed. Fire in Babylon will bring to life the sporting drama of a nation. It will explain that nation’s liberation through sporting triumph and celebrate the astonishing achievements of these young black men. It will tell one of the greatest stories sport has ever known.
A documentary about the team was released to great acclaim in 2010. It is the highest grossing sports documentary of all time in the UK, and Simon Lister has been granted exclusive access to the archive material from the film which, coupled with extensive interviews with the players, will make this the definitive book on the team and their era of dominance.
Yellow Jersey Press Editorial Director, Matt Phillips said: ‘I am thrilled to be publishing Fire in Babylon. The story of the West Indies cricket team is one of those incredible tales that starts in the world of sport, but is actually about so much more. Simon Lister’s knowledge of the time and access to the key players means that this tale of triumph against the odds promises to be as pacy as a Michael Holding bouncer and as powerful as a Viv Richards cover drive.’
Simon Lister is a BBC producer who has written about the game for The Wisden Cricketer Magazine, The Cricketer, Sunday Telegraph and Financial Times. His authorised biography of Clive Lloyd, Supercat, was shortlisted for the British Sports Book of the Year Award in 2007.