Canadian author Tom Rachman's The Italian Teacher nominated for British book award

Tom Rachman is a finalist for the 2018 Costa Novel Award, a £5,000 prize given to the best work of fiction by a U.K. or Irish resident.
Tom Rachman's latest novel is The Italian Teacher. (Penguin Random House)

The Italian Teacher by Vancouver-raised, London-based author Tom Rachman is a finalist for the 2018 Costa Novel Award, a £5,000 (approx. $8,500 Cdn) prize given to the best work of fiction by a U.K. or Irish resident.

Rachman's novel begins in 1950s Rome where a boy named Little Pinch struggles in the shadow of his father, a famous artist, who ends up abandoning the family. The judges called it "a hugely pleasurable story, fizzing with energy."

Other books on the shortlist include The Silence of the Girls by Booker Prize-winning British author Pat Barker, Normal People by Irish writer Sally Rooney and From a Low and Quiet Sea by Irish author Donal Ryan.

The Costa Book Awards give out an additional four £5,000 (approx. $8,500 Cdn) prizes in four other categories: first novel, poetry, biography and children's literature. One overall winner is chosen from the five category winners; that overall winner will receive an additional £30,000 (approx. $51,003 Cdn).

The first novel finalists are:

  • Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart
  • An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato
  • The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

The poetry finalists are:

  • Us by Zaffar Kunial
  • Assurances by J.O. Morgan
  • Soho by Richard Scott
  • Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan

The biography finalists are:

  • To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine
  • The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es
  • The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
  • The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah by Benjamin Zephaniah

The children's literature finalists are:

  • The Colour of the Sun by David Almond
  • Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay
  • Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
  • The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay

The category winners will be announced on Jan. 7, 2019, followed by the overall winner on Jan. 29, 2019.


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