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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Beckham scores British book prize
David Beckham
Beckham said he was thrilled so many people bought his book
David Beckham has won a special prize at the British Book Awards for his book My Side, the fastest-selling biography or autobiography of all time.

Lynne Truss's best-selling grammar guide Eats, Shoots and Leaves picked up the book of the year award, while Alexander McCall Smith was named best author.

Monica Ali won newcomer of the year for her debut Brick Lane.

"I am thrilled to get this award," said Real Madrid player Beckham, whose book sold 103,000 copies in its first week.

"When I decided to write my autobiography I never expected to be breaking records. I just wanted to give my side of the story," said the England football captain.

He thanked everyone who had bought the book, which was ghost written by sports author Tom Watt, and his family "for supporting me throughout".

The book, published last September, has sold over one million copies.

Nation's punctuation

Lynne Truss's book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which takes its title from a grammatical anecdote about pandas, has taken over 5m since it was first printed in November.

Lynne Truss
I got the taxi to an event and told the driver I was doing a talk on punctuation - he said I'd better get there on time
Lynne Truss
She said there was still much to be done in improving the nation's punctuation.

She said: "I got the taxi to an event and told the driver I was doing a talk on punctuation. He said I'd better get there on time."

Whitbread winner Mark Haddon won two awards for his novel about a 15-year-old-boy with Asperger's syndrome, the children's book of the year and the literary fiction prize.

He had been nominated for five awards at the ceremony in the Grosvenor House Hotel, central London.

Mr Haddon joked that when he won the Whitbread prize he showed the cheque to his young son, who was upset not to see a trophy.

Mr Haddon told the audience: "He wasn't quite so impressed, he wanted a trophy so this is for him."

Public winner

Other winners included Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones which took the Richard and Judy best read of the year Award, as voted for by the public.

Simon Sebag-Montefiore's Stalin - The Court of the Red Tsar won the history book of the year.

Martin Johnson
Rugby star Martin Johnson won the sports book of the year
Rugby star Martin Johnson won the sports book of the year for his autobiography, Nigel Slater picked up biography of the year for Toast and the lifetime achievement award went to Sir David Attenborough.

Monica Ali's award was presented by model Jordan, wearing a pink dress, who said her favourite books were true crimes.

The awards, also known as The Nibbies, will be shown on Channel 4 on 9 April, hosted by television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.

Haddon takes Whitbread book prize
28 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Beckham on best book shortlist
11 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Beckham in the Pink?
27 Mar 04  |  Funny Old Game
Grammar book enriches publishers
17 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
Grammar book tops bestseller list
01 Dec 03  |  Entertainment

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