Participant profiles

Laura Pariani

Italian Writers in UK was opened by the British tour of Laura Pariani (11th-19th October 2010), who gave interviews, talks and seminars as follows:

  • University of Edinburgh and Italian Cultural Institute (Claudia Nocentini);
  • University of Leeds (Gigliola Sulis) (in Italian with English interpreter);
  • Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Manchester (Nicoletta Di Ciolla and Francesca Billiani);
  • University of Reading (Daniela La Penna);
  • University College London and Italian Cultural Institute (Federica Mazzara).

A public talk took place the same year in France, at Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3, where the writer was invited, with Gigliola Sulis, to attend the international conference «On ne naît pas... on le devient». I Gender Studies e il caso italiano, dagli anni Settanta a oggi, tra liberazione sessuale e nuovi tabù, organized by GERCI (Groupe d'études et de recherches sur la culture italienne) - (Grenoble, 25-26 novembre 2010).

Laura Pariani. Born in Busto Arsizio, near Milan, in 1951, Pariani is one of the most talented contemporary Italian writers. Her fiction is characterised by a gendered gaze, linguistic experimentation, and by an interest in the representation of Italian migration to South America. She also writes for cinema and for the theatre, in both Italian and Spanish. She is a keen promoter of Argentinean writers in Italy, and a translator of fiction from Spanish into Italian.

The writer is a regular contributor on social and cultural issues to many Italian newspapers and magazines. Her work has been widely translated abroad. Her latest novel, Milano è una selva oscura, was awarded the Premio Campiello 2010.

For further information see her personal website:, with bio-bibliographic details and an archive of reviews.

See also:

  • video interview on Milano è una selva oscura, in Italian, at the Italian Book Fair in Turin, May 2012 (Salone del Libro di Torino);
  • a written interview for the literary website Lo specchio di carta (ed. Domenica Perrone, University of Palermo, Italy,16th April 2003)

Published by Einaudi in January 2010, the novel Milano è una selva oscuratransposes Dante's Divina commedia to 20th century in Milan. Dante is now a beggar, and his life comes to an end during the Piazza Fontana bombing in December 1969 - one of the most tragic moments of Italian recent history. The language freely mixes literary Italian and Milanese dialect, with many direct influences from Milanese dialectal writers of the past (especially Carlo Porta, who translated into Milanese various cantos of the Divina Commedia).

To read Italian reviews of Milano è una selva oscura, click here.


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