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Wednesday, 6 March, 2002, 10:11 GMT
Stephenson wins Book Of The Year
Pamela Stephenson and Billy Connolly
Stephenson was joined on stage by her husband
Pamela Stephenson has won the Book Of The Year award at the book trade's annual prize-giving ceremony, the British Book Awards.

The former comedy performer, now a psychotherapist, triumphed with her best-selling biography Billy, about her husband Billy Connolly.


It is so gratifying to win the award

Pamela Stephenson
Author of the year was Philip Pullman who has been lauded for his children's novel The Amber Spyglass, which won best children's book award at last year's event.

Stephenson beat off competition from Beryl Bainbridge's According to Queeney, while Pullman triumphed over fellow nominees JK Rowling and Ian McEwan.

Stephenson said the book has helped Connolly deal with the sexual abuse given to him by his father.

'Religious bigotry'

She told BBC One's Breakfast: "Billy now feels a big weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

"There have been so many groups of people who have responded to this book, people who survived different types of abuse, people with learning difficulties and people with families divided by religious bigotry.

Beryl Bainbridge
Beryl Bainbridge was left off the Booker shortlist
"It is so gratifying to win the award and the fact that so many people have bought the book has been wonderful."

The former Not the Nine O'Clock News actress said her husband was very supportive towards her.

The awards - known in the industry as the Nibbies - were handed out at a dinner at London's Grosvenor House Hotel attended by celebrities such as Joan Collins and figures from the publishing world.

The newcomer of the year award went to broadcaster Pete McCarthy for his comic travelogue McCarthy's Bar. He had also been nominated for book Of the year.

Children's book of the year award went to Eoin Colfer for Artemis Fowl. The Laying On Of Hands, written and read by Alan Bennett, was named audio book of the year.

Sales

Publisher of the Year went to HarperCollins.

The British Book Awards aim to reward not only literary merit but also popularity, as reflected in sales.

Bainbridge has lost out on two big book awards with According to Queeney, a fictionalised life of the great lexicographer Dr Johnson.

It was hotly tipped to win this year's Booker prize - but in the event, never even made it on to the shortlist.

Last year, Nigella Lawson and Tony Parsons beat off stiff competition from JK Rowling's Harry Potter to win the top prizes at the awards.

Competition

Lawson, author of How to be a Domestic Goddess, was named author of the year. The book of the year award went to Parsons for the semi-autobiographical Man And Boy.

Rowling had to make do with an award for best marketing campaign and best publisher for Bloomsbury for the Potter tale The Goblet of Fire.

The latter tale was also beaten to the best children's book award by Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass, which went on to win this year's Whitbread prize.

Zadie Smith was named best newcomer for her acclaimed debut, White Teeth.

See also:

23 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Lawson beats Potter magic
22 Jan 02 | Reviews
Whitbread winners: Your views
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