Rising Star: Tom Rob Smith, Author

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The Independent Culture

Having won the Crime Writers' Association Steel Dagger Award and hit the Costa First Novel shortlist, Tom Rob Smith's gruesome debut, 'Child 44', is now pitted against veterans Kate Summerscale and Linda Grant in the Literature category of the South Bank Show Awards.

The book, which narrates a series of child murders in Stalinist Russia, sparked a bidding war at the London Book Fair, selling in 26 countries (not Russia) and 17 languages and attracting three film offers within two weeks. The rights eventually went to Ridley Scott. Just 29, Smith's preparation includes a year's creative writing scholarship in Italy and writing Cambodia's first soap opera. He is now working on the follow-up, which he estimates should be "finished in a couple of months".