From The Guardian
by Sian Cain
Elena Ferrante, the bestselling Italian novelist of the highly acclaimed Neapolitan series, is to write her first ever regular newspaper column, in the Guardian.
The pseudonymous author’s return to writing, a year after an investigative journalist controversially claimed to have revealed her real identity, will be welcomed by fans anxious to see her next move. Ferrante has always said that her anonymity was important to her work, freeing her from the “anxiety of notoriety”.
Now, in her weekly column for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, Ferrante will share her thoughts on a wide range of topics, including childhood, ageing, gender and, in her debut article, first love. Ferrante said she was “attracted to the possibility of testing myself” with a regular column, and called the experience “a bold, anxious exercise in writing”. The column will be translated by Ferrante’s regular collaborator Ann Goldstein.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Elena Ferrante on her first newspaper column – a new adventure for her and for Guardian Weekend magazine,” said editor Melissa Denes. “Every week, she will be writing a personal piece, covering subjects from sex to ageing to the things that make her laugh. We can’t wait to see where she will take us.”
Ferrante’s books, particularly her Neapolitan series, have been bestsellers among English readers since the first volume, My Brilliant Friend, was translated in 2012. Narrated by a woman called Elena – or Lenu – the series follows her life and that of her friend Lila as they rebel against the poor and stultifying Naples neighbourhood they grew up in. The three novels that followed – The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014), and The Story of the Lost Child (2015) – have all made bestseller charts around the world. Frantumaglia, a collection of the author’s essays and letters, was released in 2016.
She is also currently working on the screenplay for a television adaptation of My Brilliant Friend for HBO.
Ferrante was named one of the world’s most influential people in 2016 by Time magazine, and was one of the highest-earning literary novelists in the UK in 2017, despite not releasing a new book that year.
Asked in a 2016 email interview for the Gentlewoman why she worked anonymously, Ferrante said she wanted to shield the Neapolitan community from which she drew her inspiration. She was also driven, she wrote, by “the wish to remove oneself from all forms of social pressure or obligation. Not to feel tied down to what could become one’s public image. To concentrate exclusively and with complete freedom on writing and its strategies.”
The Guardian’s Weekend magazine has been redesigned as part of the newspaper’s move to tabloid format, with the first new-look issue appearing on 20 January.