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Henry Irving and Ellen Terry biography wins Sheridan Morley Prize

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Michael Holroyd has been chosen as the winner of the 2009 Sheridan Morley Prize for Best Theatre Biography for his book, A Strange Eventful History, which tells the stories of the lives of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving.

Chair of the judging panel Ruth Leon said: “Michael Holroyd’s book is a brilliant and readable encapsulation of a period peopled by remarkable characters. Not only is it a fine piece of theatre history, it invites the reader into a period of our English past, which might otherwise go unnoticed. All four of the books on our shortlist are page-turners, which exemplify what the Sherry’s are all about. They open a window into the world of the artist and the time they lived in”.

The judging panel also included last year’s winner Dominic Dromgoole, actress Patricia Hodge and publisher-literary agent Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson. Holroyd will receive a cash award of £2,000.

The Sheridan Morley Prize is now in its second year. It celebrates excellence and originality in a theatre biography, autobiography or diary. In its inaugural year, the prize was awarded to Dromgoole for his book Will and Me.