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Brixton Beach


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About the Author

Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan-born artist and novelist living and working in Britain. She arrived with her parents in this country at the age of ten. She trained as a painter, completing her MA at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford. For nearly twenty years her work as a painter, installation artist and filmmaker has dealt with the traces of history and memory within public and private spaces. In 1998, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, highlighted one of her paintings, Watching the Procession, for its Summer Exhibition. As a result her work became more widely known and was included in the South Asian Arts Festival at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham in 1992. In 1993, Cadogan Contemporaries, London began showing her paintings, then in 2000, the Arts Council of England funded a touring exhibition of her work. Entitled The House of Small Things, this exhibition consisted of paintings and photographs based on childhood memories. They were the start of what was to become a preoccupation with issues of loss and migration. Roma became Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford in 2002 and it was while working at the Ashmolean and as a response to public interest that she began to write. In 2003, she had a solo exhibition, Nel Corpo delle Citta (In the Body of the Cities), at the MLAC Gallery in Rome. She is currently the holder of a three-year AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) Fellowship at Brookes University, Oxford, and is working on the relationship between narrative and memory in museums throughout Europe. Roma's first novel, Mosquito, was shortlisted for the Costa First Book Award. She is married with three children and lives in Oxford.


'Prose so lush it appeals to every sense, the pages are suffused with the scents and tastes, ring with the sounds of Sri Lanka and South London...Roma Tearne is an exquisite writer and captivating storyteller, such that the reader is endlessly torn between the desire to linger and the urge to turn the page to see where she will take us next.' Aminatta Forna

'[A] richly characterised, elegantly modulated and deeply moving novel.' Michael Arditti, Daily Mail

'An ambitious, lyrical novel, distinguished by its refusal to offer false consolation.' TLS

'Tearne is a vividly sensitive writer who spares her readers unnecessary sentiment and hones in on raw emotions just below the surface. The refugee in all of us can recognise the desperate desire to belong and the sometimes terrible price we pay for it.' Julie Wheelwright, Independent

'The most moving novels of war speak of the battles fought within individual human hearts; causes and geographies are their backdrop. A timely lament for the dead and displaced of the Sri Lankan civil war, Roma Tearne's third novel, Brixton Beach, follows four generations of a family doomed to be estranged not only from their land, but also from love.' Chris Cleave, Financial Times

'Rich and satisfying, and written with a painter's instinct for the beautiful.' Kate Saunders, The Times

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