Englishman James Willstrop is one of the world's leading squash players and one of the sport's most complex and cerebral characters. Brought up in Pontefract, he is anything but the archetypal Yorkshireman - a poetry-loving vegetarian with a love of musicals, Morrissey, Oscar Wilde and Philip Larkin. He became world No 1 in January 2012 despite being accused by many of being `too nice' to be a winner. James, 28, has just written his first book - a diary account from January 2010 to February 2011. He writes with candid honesty about the issues that affect him, using flashbacks to earlier periods in his life. As critical of himself as of others, he talks openly about his close relationship with his father and coach, Malcolm; the devastating death of his mother, Lesley, and his fierce and often acrimonious rivalry with fellow Yorkshireman and former world No 1 Nick Matthew.
Acclaim for Shot and a Ghost
"There aren't many sports book that I read and feel the sportsman himself jumps off the pages. James' book shows the stresses of top level sport on and off the court. A great read"
Matt Pinsent, BBC Sport and four-time Olympic gold medallist
"Willstrop is a very different sort of British sporting hero: a militant vegetarian, lover of musicals, obsessive-compulsive with a constant need to wash his hands and a man who had been coached from childhood by his father. Yet he is also one of Britain's finest ever racket sports players and in this fascinating autobiography, he reveals his journey from the cold municipal courts of Pontefract, through crippling injury and personal despair to the world No 1 ranking in squash. A sportsman who deserves greater publicity than he gets"
Patrick Kidd, The Times
"What a great insight into a young champion's mentality. Often we get a chance to read the biography of old pros or successful business people who have been there and done that, but to get a chance to read about the challenges and achievements of a young man that is still at it is fascinating. The way in which he conducts himself is inspiring, particularly at a time when we are all looking for true role models for our young"
Tony Smith, Warrington Wolves head coach