Book about Polish WWII hero receives Costa Book of the Year award

British journalist and writer Jack Fairweather, author of 'The Volunteer' and winner of the 2019 Biography Award and Costa Book of the Year, poses for pictures at the Costa Book Awards ceremony WILL OLIVER/PAP/EPA

A biography about Witold Pilecki, the Polish war hero who volunteered to go to the Nazi German Auschwitz death camp and then warned the world about the Nazi death machine, has been granted the Costa Book of the Year award.

Pilecki's role in informing the world about the Holocaust was really important. He allowed himself to be caught in a round-up in order to enter Auschwitz. He escaped from the camp in 1943, but during his imprisonment he managed to smuggle reports describing the atrocities taking place there. He was executed by Poland's communist authorities after a mock trial in 1948. His grave has not yet been found.

Earlier the book titled "The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz" by Jack Fairweather won the Costa Book Award in the Best Biography category.

The winners in five categories – novel, biography, poetry, children's book and first novel – could compete for the Costa Book of the Year award.

Since 1971, Costa Book Awards have been granted to English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland.