Elizabeth Price, an artist who grew up in Luton, has won the 2012 Turner Prize.
The musician-turned-artist quit singing because she was too shy, but last night she was in the spotlight against as she collected the £25,000 prize from actor Jude Law at a ceremony at Tate Britain in London.
She won the prize for her video installation show which included a film inspired by a fatal fire in a Woolworths store in Manchester.
The film, The Woolworths Choir Of 1979, features archive footage from the blaze that gutted the city centre store and left 10 people dead, mixed with architectural designs, film of a 1960s girl group and music.
She said she remembered seeing the fire on the news as a child and it had stayed with her.
Price said being nominated had brought her work to a wider audience and the money would allow her to "carry on working and make new ambitious things".
Price also criticised the Government and praised her education at a comprehensive school, Putteridge High School, in Luton.
Price, who started out as a singer with 1980s indie pop band Talulah Gosh, said her career would be "unimaginable" without public support for the arts.
She said she wanted her art to recreate the excitement she felt going to gigs, but admitted: "I gave up doing pop music because I hated being on stage and was very shy."