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The Wife Wins: Tomalin Takes the Whitbread Award


Claire Tomalin wins the Whitbread Book of the Year award over her playwright and novelist husband, Michael Frayn.


January 29, 2003
— When the five 2002 Whitbread category award winners were recently announced, husband Michael Frayn (Novel, Spies) and wife Claire Tomalin (Biography, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self) found themselves in competition for the overall prize. The former Sunday Times Literary Editor, Tomalin, ultimately beat out her husband. She commented following the awards ceremony, "If he had won, I would have been absolutely delighted for him too, as happy, possibly happier. How can you weigh up pride in your own achievement with pride in the person you love best?"


Since its launch in 1971, the Whitbread book awards have identified and celebrated the most enjoyable books published in the United Kingdom each year in five categories: Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry, and Childrens. From these award winners, one overall winner—the Whitbread Book of the Year—is chosen.


Whitbread Book of the Year and Whitbread Biography Award

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, by Claire Tomalin


Whitbread Novel Award

Spies, by Michael Frayn


Whitbread First Novel Award

The Song of Names, by Norman Lebrecht


Whitbread Poetry Award

The Ice Age, by Paul Farley


Whitbread Children's Book Award

Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay


Read the Guardian article.



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