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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Author of the year: Sheila Hancock
Sheila Hancock and John Thaw
The two of us: John Thaw and Sheila Hancock
They're described as the Oscars of the literary world and last night the prize for Author of the Year at last night's British Book Awards went to an actress.

Sheila Hancock beat off stiff competition from Dan Brown's global bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, to scoop the top prize for her moving account of life with her late husband, John Thaw.

  • Sheila Hancock talked about the Award and how she came to write the book on Breakfast this morning.

    The Two of Us is a moving memoir of Sheila's marriage to John Thaw.

    She decided to write it as she didn't want anyone else to write about him.

    In the "The Two of Us" Sheila tells both their stories, interspersed with poignant entries from her diary in the months before and after John's death.

    Sheila decided to write the book, partly in response to approaches from biographers after John died.

    One writer contacted her saying : "I am going to do a warts and all biography of your husband and I'd like you to co-operate but if you don't I'm going to write it anyway".

    She felt that she wanted their lives to be "put on the record" - but by herself rather than someone else.

    In the course of researching the book, Sheila discovered lots that she didn't know about John, all good things.

    And in the three years since he died, she says its her work that's kept her going.

    "I don't think I could've borne it if I didn't have a job...you feel needed even though the person who needed you most is gone".

  • Sheila Hancock's book is called: The Two of us - my life with John Thaw. It's published by Bloomsbury ISBN: 0-7475-7020-5

    Sheila Hancock

    BBC Breakfast



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