Biography

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Roma Tearne completed an MA at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford in September 2002 and was Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 2002-3. She was Artist in Residence at Modern Art Oxford in February 2005. In October 2005 she started a three-year post-doctoral AHRC fellowship at Oxford Brookes University.

Thereafter Tearne began to write. Her first novel, Mosquito, was published by Harper Collins in 2007 and shortlisted for the Costa Prize. Her second novel, Bone China, appeared in the spring of 2008, and her third, Brixton Beach in 2009, became a "TV Book Club Read". Her fourth novel, The Swimmer, was published in May 2010 and long-listed for the Orange Prize. A film based on the narrative was made by Tearne and shown at the Venice Biennale in 2011. Her fifth novel, The Road to Urbino published in 2012, was long-listed for the Asian Man Booker. Another film by Tearne, based on this novel, was shown at the National Gallery, London, in June of that year. She herself has directed and shot five short films, the last of which, Letter from Urbino, was screened at the National Gallery, London in 2012. She has since written two more novels, The Last Pier and The White City, and is working on an eighth.

Recent novel

The White City

——

Finally, after twenty-seven years, the ice is melting …
Published by Gallic, 2017

“Bleak yet beautiful fiction of near-future disintegration”
The Morning Star

Other novels

The Last Pier

Monday August 14th 1939. It began in silence.

“An atmospheric page-turner and Tearne keeps the reader guessing to the end.” Independent

—   View on Amazon   —

Mosquito

A lyrical and profoundly moving story of love, loss and civil war, set in Sri Lanka, London and Venice.
Beautifully written, by turns heartbreaking and uplifting, `Mosquito’ is a first novel of remarkable and compelling power.

—   View on Amazon   —

Bone China

An epic novel of love, loss and a family uprooted, set in the contrasting landscapes of war-torn Sri Lanka and immigrant London.

—   View on Amazon   —

Brixton Beach

‘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

—   View on Amazon   —

The Swimmer

‘A tender, unconventional love story unfolds, until tragedy intervenes…Tearne’s descriptions of the wide Suffolk skies are breathtaking; she has a wonderful ability to create atmosphere’

The Times

—   View on Amazon   —

The Road to Urbino

Beautifully written and observed, a richly woven plot. Roma Tearne leads us seamlessly between the intensity of art, love in a warm climate, and acute human suffering.

Jon Snow, Newscaster, Channel 4 News

—   View on Amazon   —

Films

Happenings in a museum

A short film about the secret life within the Ashmolean museum made during a year long Leverhulme residency.

Nel corpo delle cittá

A film about Rome.
‘…looking for signs in Rome the artist has found Roma, herself; she has found her biography in the city which was always both her past and her present. Like the protagonist in Hiroshima Mon Amour, the characters fuse with their city of origin, perhaps because it is their origin they were looking for.’ Looking for the Self in the City. Laura Scuriatti.

Watermuseum

’The Bird Woman unwittingly shows a Venice that they [the onlookers] never knew or had forgotten existed, a city still capable of inspiring wonder and conjuring up the unexpected.’ The Fiction of the Found. Deborah Dean , Curator, Nottingham Castle Museum.

Flashline

A short film made during a residency at the National Museum of Scotland to celebrate the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Brixton Beach

’The most moving novels of war speak of the battles fought within individual hearts..’ Chris Cleave, Financial Times.

The Swimmer

’This tender story of love and loss is deftly infused with the sights and sounds of a Suffolk summer.’ Daily Mail.

Letter from Urbino

’The most moving novels of war speak of the battles fought within individual hearts..’ Chris Cleave, Financial Times.

The Last Pier

’This tender story of love and loss is deftly infused with the sights and sounds of a Suffolk summer.’ Daily Mail.

Curriculum Vitae

PUBLICATIONS


2012 (June 23) ‘The Essay: In Search of the Art of Enchantment’, Independent
2012 (June) The Road To Urbino (Little Brown)
2012 (June) Letter From Urbino (Film) for The National Gallery, London
2011 (June) Publication of French translation of Brixton Beach and launch at St Malo Festival, France, when she was short listed for a French readers’ prize.
2011 (June) Venice Biennale Film, The Swimmer, shown at the Armenian Pavilion. in association with Brookes University Oxford
2010 (May) The Swimmer. A novel (Harper Collins).
2009 (June) Brixton Beach. A novel (Harper Collins).
2008 (November) ‘Watermuseum’, A film made for Nottingham Castle Museum
2008 (April) Bone China. A novel (Harper Collins).
2007 ‘In search of the Unseen Venice’, Times, Saturday 1 September.
2007 (March) Mosquito. A novel (Harper Collins). Short listed for the Costa First novel Award
2007 (March) Chasing Venus: Publication for the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.
2004 Field Study- 2, (London College of Communication).In conjunction with Tate Modern.
2004 ‘My Shadow Collection’,in Nel Corpo delle Città (Gangemaini, Rome), pp.19-43.
2003 Happenings in a Museum (Ashmole Books). Pp. 23.
2002 The House of Small Things (Angel Row, Nottingham). Pp. 10.
2002 ‘House of Small Things’, Source (Winter), pp. 26-33.
PRIZES AND AWARDS
2015 Author’s Society Grant.
2010 Author’s Society Travel Scholarship.
2009 British Council Funding to take ‘Time Zones’ to India, Russia and Sweden.
2008 Arts Council Grant for ‘Time Zones’ film.
2005 AHRC post-doctoral award for Fellow in Creating and Performing Arts’.
2004 Southern Arts Grant for film ‘Nel corpo delle città’
2003 Leverhulme Grant for Artist in Residence, Ashmolean Museum.
2002 Southern Arts Grant for ‘House of Small Things’
2002 Fotonet South. First prize photographic competition.
2001 Southern Arts Grant for ‘Sounding the Heart’.
1991 Southern Arts Grant for Bedford Hill Gallery show.
PUBLIC EVENTS
2013 Gibraltar Literary Festival.
2013 BBC Radio Open Book.
2012 BBC Radio Woman’s Hour.
2012 BBC Radio Front Row.
2011 (January) Jaipur Literary Festival.
2010 (May) The Swimmer.
2010 (February) Appearance and discussion of Brixton Beach on More4 TV Book Club.
2010 (February) Talk at Shakespeare and Co, Paris.
2010 (February) Tour to Sweden sponsored by British Council to mark launch of Swedish translation of Mosquito. Work in the Nordic museum in Stockholm with immigrants.
2010 (March) Representing Harper Collins for World Book Day.
2010 (March) Launch of The Swimmer. A novel. Oxford Literary Festival.
2010 (April) Writer in Residence at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford
2009 (December) Tour to Russia sponsored by British Council and Phantom Press to launch Russian translation of Mosquito.
2009 (August) Edinburgh Literary Festival.
2009 (March) Writer in Residence on Red Funnel Ferries. Supported by Southampton Library Services.
2009 (March) Jaipur Festival, India, supported by the Arts Council SE, the British Council and Harper India.
2009 BBC Radio, Woman’s Hour.
2009 Solo Show, 198 Gallery, London.
2008 (March) Adelaide Literary Festival.
2008 (March) University of Venice. Post-Colonial Conference.
2008 (June) Art and Neuroscience. A series of talks at Oxford University.
2008 (August) Edinburgh Festival.
2007 Conference Paper, ‘Literature, Migration and Terrorism post 9/11’, Southampton University.
2007 Venice, presentation at the Ateneo Veneto of the work for Mosquito
2007 Milan presentation of Mosquito for Feltrinelli
2007 Edinburgh Literary Festival.
2007 Cheltenham literary festival
2007 Oxford Literary Festival.
2007 Museum of the History of Science: Truth in Art and Fiction
2006 Word and Image Conference Newport University: The Cooden Bay Photographs
2005 Defamiliarization of the Familiar: Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.
2005 International Photographic Symposium, Winchester Gallery: The Marsh Arabs
2004 Tate Modern: The Cooden Bay Photographs. Conference ‘Artist and the Archive’.
2002-3 Ashmolean Museum: 12 public surgeries on public responses and discussing work.
2002 Angel Row, Nottingham: X-Change Gallery, Oxford
2002 198 Gallery, London
2002 Bracknell Gallery, Berkshire: Artist’s Talks
SELECTED TEACHING
2005-8 Undergraduate teaching, fine art, Brookes University, Oxford.
2002-3 Monthly workshops for adults and children, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
2019 Royal Academy of Arts, Summer Exhibition.
2009 (June) 198 Gallery, one person show.
2008 (November) ‘Watermuseum’, Nottingham Castle Museum, supported by Nottingham City Council and the AHRC.
2007 (August) Flashline: Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. As part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.
2007 (March) ‘Crossing the Water’: Modern Art, Oxford.
2007 (March) Blindfolding of the Sheldonian Emperor Statues.
2006 Every Object Tells a Story. The South Asian gallery, V&A.
2005 (February) Artist in Residence, Modern Art, Oxford.
2004 (July) Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporaneo, ‘La Sapienza’, Rome. Blindfolding of statues around the city including Giordano Bruno.
2004 Installation at Modern Art, Oxford.
2003 Light installations St Mary’s University Church, Oxford.
2002 Ruskin MA degree show: London: Cubit gallery.
2002 Bracknell Manor House: ‘Traces’ New work as part of prize-winning entry for ‘Open Shutter’.
2002 ‘The House of Small Things’: Supported by Southern Arts and London Arts Board. A Touring Exhibition: Angel Row, Nottingham: X-Change Gallery, Oxford: 198 Gallery, London: Bracknell Gallery, Berkshire.
2002 Fotonetsouth: Bracknell Gallery Photographic show: First Prize.
2001 ‘Sounding the Heart’. One person show, Milton Keynes General Hospital, National Health trust.
1997 Bankside Gallery, London. Royal Watercolour Society.
1997 Sphinx Gallery, St. James’s, London.
1997 Royal Academy of Arts, London.
1997 Cadogan Gallery, London.
1992 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. South Asian Arts Festival.
1991 Bankside Gallery, London. Mixed show.
1991 Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, London.
1990 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool/Oxford Gallery. Mixed show.
1990 Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, London.
1991 Royal Academy of Arts, London.
1990 Royal Academy of Arts, London.
1989 Royal Academy of Arts, London.
REVIEWS OF NOVELS AND ART WORK
Susan Wyndham, ‘A Novel of Sri Lanka’s War in Lush Tropical Detail,’ The New York Times, 26 May, 2018. Click here
Paul Simon, ‘Bleak but Beautiful Fiction of Near Future Disintegration … The White City’. The Morning Star, 20 October, 2017. Click here
Roma Tearne, 'Keeping An Eye Open by Julian Barnes’, Independent, 23 April, 2015.
Liz Hoggard, ‘The Last Pier by Roma Tearne …A Poetic Tale of Family Ties, Love and Loss’, The Independent, 9 April, 2015. Click here
Roma Tearne, ‘Ariadne’s Thread: in Memory of W.G. Sebald’, The Independent, 10 February, 2015. Click here
Jane Housham, ‘The Road To Urbino’, Guardian 21 June, 2013. Click here
Lucy Scholes, ‘The Road to Urbino by Roma Tearne. The Independent, 18 Aug. 2012. Click here
Roma Tearne, ‘The Essay: In Search of the Art of Enchantment, The Independent 23 June 2012. Click here
Lucy Popescu, ‘The Tuesday Book’, Independent, 8 June 2010. Click here
Roma Tearne, ‘Sri Lanka’s Writers Must Remember and Speak Out,’ The Independent, 7 May 2010. Click here
Alfred Hickling, ‘A Healing Art’, Guardian 4 July 2009. Click here
Robert Clark, ‘Roma Tearne, Nottingham’, Guardian 20 Dec 2008. Click here
Roma Tearne, ‘Life and Style,’ The Guardian, 14 June 2008. Click here
Julie Wheelwright, ‘The Enemy Within’, The Independent, 18 April 2008. Click here
Christopher Ondaatje, ‘Dear, Unhappy Isle’, Spectator, 17 March, 2007. Click here
‘Artist ‘Blinds Emperors Heads’. Oxford Times, 30 March, 2007. Click here
‘Happenings in a Museum’, AN: Magazine for Artists (July 2003), pp, 6-7.
Source: December, 2002. ‘The House of Small Things’. Click here
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