Thanks to his successful novel Theatres of War, Golders Green’s own RJJ Hall is now the proud recipient of the People’s Book Prize 2013/2014 for fiction.

The award, which was decided by the voting public, is an enormous boost to Richard, who is delighted that his homage to the struggle in Monte Cassino in 1943 has been well received.

Theatres of War tells the story of a theatre, the San Carlo opera house in Naples, against the backdrop of the bitter Italian campaign in World War Two.

It is 70 years since men and women fought to liberate Italy, and this remains an important corner of history for Richard.

“We should all remember them; for too long their role has been overlooked,” he says. “I hope that Theatres of War will help people to remember.

“Winning this prize is a great honour. And I’ve been thrilled with the response from readers, including people whose fathers and uncles fought in Italy.”