Tom Rob Smith was born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and English father, both
antique dealers, and brought up in South London, where he now lives. He started writing
plays at school and continued at St John's, Cambridge. After graduating
from Cambridge University in 2001, he completed his studies in Italy, studying
creative writing for a year. He then worked as a scriptwriter including time
working for Channel 5's now defunct soap Family Affairs.
Child 44, his first novel, was published in 2008 and has been translated into 17 languages to date. It was awarded the 2008 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best Thriller of the year by the Crime Writer's Association. In was also long listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and the 2008 Costa First Novel Award. Ridley Scott owns the film rights.
His second novel, The Secret Speech, was published in May 2009.
This biography was last updated on 04/05/2009.
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What is the real Secret Speech, and why did you choose that as the backdrop for this story?
"The Secret Speech" was perhaps one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered in modern history. Its effect on a nation and indeed around the world was dramatic. It was delivered by Premier Khrushchev in 1956, three years after Stalin's death, to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev attacks some of the brutal and savage measures Stalin used to control his population. It was the first time a public and influential attack had been made upon Stalin, an attack from the very epicenter of the Soviet government. Many of the officials listening to the speech simply couldn't believe the words they were hearing. To many, Stalin had been positioned as a god, above reproach. More interesting to me were the feelings of the people who had been complicit in Stalin's crimes. Khrushchev's speech seemed to herald a new era of openness in a society where many people had committed terrible crimes they wished to hide. It was this point that led me to use it as backdrop for a story. Self-evidently, a second book is about what follows after the first ...
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