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Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born novelist and film maker living in the UK. She left Sri Lanka with her family, at the start of the civil unrest during the 1960s. She trained as a painter & filmmaker at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and then was Leverhulme artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Subsequently she was awarded an AHRC Fellowship and worked for three years in museums around Europe on a project accessing narrative within the collections.
She has written six novels. Her fifth, The Road To Urbino was published by Little Brown in June 2012 to coincide with the premier of her film of that name at the National Gallery in London. She has been short-listed for the Costa, the Kirimaya & LA Times book prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011 and, in 2012, the Asian Man Booker. Her sixth novel, The Last Pier, will be out in April 2015 from Hesperus Press.
Author photo © Alistair Tearne
The Second World War looms and young, curious Cecily desperately wants to know her 16-year old sister’s secret. But there is a lot more she wants to know too. Why is her mother’s sister, Kitty, always staying on their Suffolk farm? Who is the sinister stranger Robert Wilson? Where does her sister go as she climbs out of her window at night? Then her charred remains are found on the burnt out pier and strangely Cecily feels it is somehow her fault. The poetic narrative flits between past, present and future most effectively. The lyrical prose allows the reader to feel the tension and dismay building up to the approaching war. We also follow an Italian family who own the local ice-cream parlour and their fears of the future. The plot is full of secrets which Cecily tries to uncover with devastating results. Highly recommended.
One of the 20 Longlisted titles for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011. October 2010 Book of the Month. A tale of romance and Sri Lankan politics from the author of Brixton Beach. It is rather pessimistic and tragic and yet despite that is richly satisfying. Almost everything imaginable happens to or has happened to the few characters. There's the loss of a parent, a hatred of siblings, an illicit affair, bigotry, insanity, hopeless love, political upheaval, suicide, and more, all portrayed in a light, simplistic style. In short, it's a gripping, captivating novel about love, loss and what home really means. Comparison: Rani Manicka, Tash Aw, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 28 February 2010. Beginning with the July 2005 London bombings this fascinating and enthralling novel draws you in from the start. In the midst of the panic unravelling in London as a young doctor searches frantically for someone we are transported back to Sri Lanka some 30 years ago to where the story really begins. A beautifully written and eloquently told story of love, family and war.
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2007.Costa Book Awards 2007 Judges' comment: "A compelling story set in war torn Sri Lanka - poignant, exquisitely told and a captivating view of unusual love and survival."
'Roma Tearne is an exquisite writer and captivating storyteller' Aminatta FornaThrough endless years of glacial winter, artist Hera has known loss: her brother's arrest and imprisonment on terrorism charges, her mother's resulting death, and the collapse of normal life in a devastated London. Her one comfort has been her relationship with Raphael. As the thaw begins, can she track down her elusive lover?
Roma is an acclaimed author with US track record: the US release of 'Brixton Beach' in 2018 was met with a standout review in The New York Times. Further back, Mosquito and Bone China were published by Europa to enthusiastic reviews including more in the New York Times and on NPR. * Mosquito was shortlisted for the LA Times First Fiction Prize and the Costa First Novel Award. * For readers of Yaa Gyasi, Andrea Levy, Zadie Smith, Mohsin Hamid, Hanif Kureishi and Monica Ali. * Exquisite prose - many critics comment on the influence of Tearne's painterly instincts on her writing.
A story of obsession, love and art set in Tuscany, Sri Lanka and London. Ras, a Sri Lankan who fled his country as a child following the violent death of his mother and his father's disappearance, has committed a crime. Dogged by his past and unable to come to terms with the killing of his mother, he struggles to make a new life for himself in the UK. Alex has loved Dee since he was 19 but failed to realise that it was a love he wouldn't find again. After Dee's marriage, he too struggles to build a meaningful life for himself. But when Ras' and Alex's lives connect, each man takes a new path culminating for Ras in the theft of a della Franceso painting, while Alex comes ever closer to Dee through tragedy in her life. Beautifully written, with a strong narrative, The Road to Urbino is the story of two very different men and their love for the women in their lives, set against the backdrop of the heartbreaking horrors of the long-running conflict in Sri Lanka.
An elderly refugee couple sit patiently on the train waiting to see their long lost son; a young destitute mother is forced to give up her daughter; a middle-aged Tamil woman sits at her kitchen table, alone in her house in England, waiting for her husband, and a boy leaves Sri Lanka in search of a better life. Weaving together a moving tapestry, these stories depict the fate of the immigrant.From Roma Tearne, bestselling author of The Swimmer and Brixton Beach, come these wonderful stories that speak of the horrors of war, the collective guilt of the survivor, of loss, and of belonging in a place that you don't call home.
A gripping, captivating novel about love, loss and what home really means. Forty-three year old Ria is used to being alone. As a child, her life changed forever with the death of her beloved father and since then, she has struggled to find love.That is, until she discovers the swimmer. Ben is a young illegal immigrant from Sri Lanka who has arrived in Norfolk via Moscow. Awaiting a decision from the Home Office on his asylum application, he is discovered by Ria as he takes a daily swim in the river close to her house. He is twenty years her junior and theirs is an unconventional but deeply moving romance, defying both boundaries and cultures - and the xenophobic residents of Orford. That is, until tragedy occurs.
Opening dramatically with the horrors of the 2005 London bombings, this is the profoundly moving story of a country on the brink of civil war and a child's struggle to come to terms with loss.London. On a bright July morning a series of bombs bring the capital to a halt. Simon Swann, a medic from one of the large teaching hospitals, is searching frantically amongst the chaos and the rubble. All around police sirens and ambulances are screaming but Simon does not hear. He is out of breath because he has been running, and he is distraught. But who is he looking for?To find out we have first to go back thirty years to a small island in the Indian Ocean where a little girl named Alice Fonseka is learning to ride a bicycle on the beach. The island is Sri Lanka, with its community on the brink of civil war. Alice's life is about to change forever. Soon she will have to leave for England, abandoning her beloved grandfather, and accompanied by her mother Sita, a woman broken by a series of terrible events.In London, Alice grows into womanhood. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she has a son. Slowly she fulfils her grandfather's prophecy and becomes an artist. Eventually she finds true love. But London in the twenty first century is a mass of migration and suspicion. The war on terror has begun and everyone, even Simon Swann, middle class, rational, medic that he is, will be caught up in this war in the most unexpected and terrible way.
An epic novel of love, loss and a family uprooted, set in the contrasting landscapes of war-torn Sri Lanka and immigrant London. Grace de Silva, wife of the shiftless but charming Aloysius, has five children and a crumbling marriage. Her eldest son, Jacob, wants desperately to go to England. Thornton, the most beautiful of all the children and his mother's favourite, dreams of becoming a poet. Alicia wants to be a concert pianist. Only Frieda has no ambition, other than to remain close to her family. But civil unrest is stirring in Sri Lanka and Christopher, the youngest and the rebel of the family, is soon caught up in the tragedy that follows. As the decade unfolds against a backdrop of increasing ethnic violence, Grace watches helplessly as the life she knows begins to crumble. Slowly, this once happy family is torn apart as four of her children each make the decision to leave their home. In London, the de Silvas are all, in their different ways, desperately homesick. Caught in a cultural clash between East and West, life is not as they expected. Only Thornton's daughter, Meeka, moves confidently into a world that is full of possibilities. But nothing is as easy as it seems and she must overcome heartbreak, a terrible mistake and single parenthood before she is finally able to see the extraordinary effects of history on her family's migration.
A lyrical and profoundly moving story of love, loss and civil war, set in Sri Lanka, London and Venice. When author Theo Samarajeeva returns to his native Sri Lanka after his wife's death, he hopes to escape his gnawing loss amid the lush landscape of his increasingly war-torn country. But as he sinks into life in this beautiful, tortured land, he also finds himself slipping into friendship with an artistic young girl, Nulani, whose family is caught up in the growing turmoil. Soon friendship blossoms into love. Under the threat of civil war, their affair offers a glimmer of hope to a country on the brink of destruction... But all too soon, the violence which has cast an ominous shadow over their love story explodes, tearing them apart. Betrayed, imprisoned and tortured, Theo is gradually stripped of everything he once held dear - his writing, his humanity and, eventually, his love. Broken by the belief her lover is dead, Nulani flees Sri Lanka to a cold and lonely life of exile. As the years pass and the country descends into a morass of violence and hatred, the tragedy of Theo and Nulani's failed love spreads like a poison among friends sickened by the face of civil war, and the lovers must struggle to recover some of what they have lost and to resurrect, from the wreckage of their lives, a fragile belief in the possibility of redemption. Beautifully written, by turns heartbreaking and uplifting, `Mosquito' is a first novel of remarkable and compelling power.
The second novel from the author of 'Mosquito'. Grace de Silva, wife of the shiftless but charming Aloysius, has five children and a crumbling marriage. Her eldest son, Jacob, wants desperately to go to England. Thornton, the most beautiful of all the children and his mother's favourite, dreams of becoming a poet. Alicia wants to be a concert pianist. Only Frieda has no ambition, other than to remain close to her family. But civil unrest is stirring in Sri Lanka and Christopher, the youngest and the rebel of the family, is soon caught up in the tragedy that follows. As the decade unfolds against a backdrop of increasing ethnic violence, Grace watches helplessly as the life she knows begins to crumble. Slowly, this once happy family is torn apart as four of her children each make the decision to leave their home. In London, the de Silvas are all, in their different ways, desperately homesick. Caught in a cultural clash between East and West, life is not as they expected. Only Thornton's daughter, Meeka, moves confidently into a world that is full of possibilities. But nothing is as easy as it seems and she must overcome heartbreak, a terrible mistake and single parenthood before she is finally able to see the extraordinary effects of history on her family's migration.