James Shapiro Wins 9th Annual Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography

At a ceremony at the Garrick Club today, James Shapiro was awarded the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography for 1606 William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear.

The other writers on this year's shortlist were Peter Whitebrook for John Osborne 'Anger is not about...', David Hare for The Blue Touch Paper, Qais Akbar Omar and Stephen Landrigan for A Night in the Emperor's Garden and Michael Pennington for Let Me Play The Lion/How to Be an Actor.

Now in its ninth year, the prize is awarded for the best biography, autobiography or diary in theatre or show business published in the preceding calendar year.

Established in 2008, the Prize is to honour Sheridan Morley's career as an author who specialised in biographies of actors, directors, and theatre and film personalities, including his own acclaimed memoir, Asking for Trouble. In his lifetime, he wrote 37 books, the majority of which were biographies, amongst them, the authorised lives of Sir John Gielgud, Sir Noel Coward, and David Niven.

The Prize is judged by a distinguished jury of theatrical and literary practitioners and the previous years' winning author. Chaired by Ruth Leon, this year's jury is John Lahr, former principal theatre critic of The New Yorker and last year's winner for Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh; actress Kika Markham who was shortlisted for last year's award for Our Time of Day: My Life with Corin Redgrave and Benedict Nightingale - former first theatre critic of the Times and journalist.

Judge John Lahr commenting on the book said, "James Shapiro's book 1606 William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear is written with great strategic narrative skill, very clear English and it's organised extremely well. The adjective comes to my mind for the book is luscious."

The winner receives a £2000 cash prize. The Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography is a Charitable Trust. It is funded by small donations from individuals and generous support from The Garrick Club which provides the elegant setting for the Awards.

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