James Shapiro's book on Shakespeare wins the Samuel Johnson Prize

James Shapiro, a Professor of English at Columbia University, was named the winner yesterday of the 2005 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction. His acclaimed book, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, studies the pivotal year in Shakespeare's life when he was 35 and not only wrote As You Like It and Henry V, but also finished the first draft of Hamlet.

Shapiro, who also wrote Shakespeare and the Jews in 1996, was awarded the $55,000 purse in this most prestigious UK nonfiction prize.