Biography of Witold Pilecki nominated for major award

“The Volunteer” by British writer Jack Fairweather, a biography of the Polish Army Officer and WWII-era hero Witold Pilecki has been nominated for the 2019 Costa Book Awards, one of the preeminent British literary awards.

Story of Auschwitz volunteer to be published in English

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The book covers the story of Witold Pilecki, who handed himself over to the Nazi German occupiers of Poland, in order to infiltrate the German death camp in Auschwitz and inform the world about the situation there.

"I came across this historical figure and wanted to know more. When he arrived at the camp in 1940, it was a brutal place for political prisoners, and he was a witness to the actions taken by the Germans towards ‘the final solution’,” Mr Fairweather said about his book.

“Pilecki passed the news about the ongoing genocide to London. This book also shows that we (the Western allies) did nothing about that,” he added.

Jack Fairweather has been a correspondent for the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph, where he served as the Baghdad and Persian Gulf bureau chief. His reporting during the Iraq War earned him Britain’s top press award. He is the author of A War of Choice and The Good War. Mr Fairweather lives in Charlotte, Vermont, USA.

Founded in 1971, the Costa Book Awards have been awarded to books written in English by authors living in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The awards are split into five categories - novel, debut novel, biography, poetry and children's book. The Book of the Year is chosen from the winners of these categories.

The winners in individual categories will be announced on January 6, 2020, while the main prize, the Costa Book of the Year 2019, will be presented on January 28.