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Henry Irving and Ellen Terry biography wins Sheridan Morley Prize

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.