FEATURES » Elena Ferrante now a "The Guardian" regular

Elena Ferrante now a "The Guardian" regular

Italy can be proud of its bestselling mysterious author, writing under the name of Elena Ferrante, who now has a newspaper column in "The Guardian”, translated in English by her regular collaborator Ann Goldstein.

In 2016, Ferrante was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine and in 2017 she was one of the highest-earning novelist in the UK.

Ferrante, whose real identity is still a mystery, despite an investigation claiming last year that she is the Rome-based writer Anita Raja, information that has never been confirmed, stated that her anonymity was important to her work and freed herself from the anxiety of notoriety. She also said she wanted to shield the Neapolitan community from which she drew her inspiration.

In this new weekly column for the Guardian’s weekend magazine, Ferrante will write about many current issues such as ageing, gender and love. Her worldwide fame is mainly due to the Neapolitan series: “My Brilliant Friend”, translated in English in 2012; “The Story of a New Name” (2013), “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay” (2014), and “The Story of the Lost Child” (2015). In 2016, “Frantumaglia”, a collection of the authors’ essays and letters were also released. Ferrante is currently working on the screenplay for a television adaptation of “My Brilliant Friend”. The show is a co-production of Italian public broadcaster Rai and the US cable network HBO and is directed by Saverio Costanzo, with an all-Italian cast. The first eight episodes will cover the span of Ferrante’s first book in the series, “My Brilliant Friend”, with a view to adapt all four books over a total of 32 episodes.

Furthermore, a docu-fiction film “Ferrante Fever” was dedicated to the mysterious author by the film director Giacomo Durzi who has several documentaries under his belt, including “SB, I knew him well,” a portrait of ex Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi through the words of those who really knew him. The documentary tells the story of the rush success Ferrante gained in America. The journey sets off from Naples to arrive in New York. The title of the film originated from the neon sign “Ferrante night fever” on a small independent bookshop in lower Manhattan where the young owner organised a reading of Ferrante’s books with Ferrante’s American translator Ann Goldstein and the editor Michael Reynolds. The event was packed with people as there were more than two hundred participants. In the documentary American authors Jonathan Franzen and Elizabeth Strout, among others, talk about their enthusiasm for Ferrante.

Durzi declared that “Ferrante Fever” is an attempt to stimulate reflections on the particular reasons for Ferrante’s success, avoiding making a ‘gossipy’ documentary about her unknown identity.

Giulia Lombardo

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