Romana Petri

Biography

Romana Petri
Romana Petri

Born in Rome in 1955, though with proud connections to her family origins in Umbria – ‘in Città della Pieve I have my country house, an old farmouse. Thus my origins, even though I was born in Rome, are to be found there’, she affirms – Romana Petri today lives between the Italian capital and Lisbon. Petri has been classed by critics as one of the pre-eminent contemporary Italian female writers. Starting out as a secondary school teacher of French in Rome, Petri went on to work in the areas of literary criticism and translation (notably of works on the French Renaissance) and has been a regular contributor (frequently on women’s issues) to various newspapers and journals, among them L’Unità, La Stampa, Il Messaggero, Nuovi Argomenti and Leggere, as well as collaborating on cultural programmes for RAI. Her first collection of short stories, Il gambero blu e altri racconti, came out in 1990, while her novel Figli dello stesso padre was published in 2013.

Today, Petri focuses on writing and publishing, and is co-founder of the Rome-based publishers Cavallo di ferro (bringing prevalently Italian translations of Portuguese-language literature to an Italian readership along with Italian contemporary literature based in/on Latin America), twin to the Lisbon-based Cavalo de Ferro where her work was first released in Portuguese. Exhibiting a special affection for the Azores, she has repeatedly written about the island archipelago in travel writing and (sometimes magic realist) fiction, while her attachment to South America, namely Brazil and Argentina, pervades her more recent novels. Tutta la vita (2011), for example, is an Italian emigrant saga-like perspective on the 1950s-1970s Argentinean political debacle – a sequel to Alle Case Venie (1997) – but it is a fine novel in its own right. Her work has been translated into French, English, Dutch, German and Portuguese and she has won numerous literary prizes, such as the Premio Mondello and the Premio Grinzane Cavour, as well as reaching the Premio Strega finals and winning the Premio Rapallo-Carige with Alle Case Venie. One of her most successful short story collections, La donna delle Azzorre, has been made into a Portuguese television series.

Compiled by David Albert Best (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Bibliography

Il gambero blu e altri racconti (Milan: Rizzoli, 1990) [short stories]

Il ritratto del disarmo (Milan: Rizzoli, 1991)

Il baleniere delle montagne (Milan: Rizzoli, 1993)

L’antierotico (Venice: Marsilio, 1995)

Alle Case Venie (Venice: Marsilio, 1997)

I padri degli altri (Venice: Marsilio, 1999)

La donna delle Azzorre (Turin: Piemme, 2001)

Dagoberto Babilonio, un destino (Milan: Mondadori, 2002)

Esecuzioni (Rome: Fazi, 2005)

Ovunque io sia (Rome: Cavallo di Ferro, 2007)

Ti spiego (Rome: Cavallo di Ferro, 2010)

‘La bellezza’ (Satisfiction 10, December 2010, p. 13, with an introduction by Maria Vittoria Vittori), available online at
http://www.satisfiction.me/satisfiction/wp-content/themes/satisfiction/pdf/10.pdf

Figli dello stesso padre (Milan: Longanesi, 2013)

Tutta la vita (Milan: Longanesi, 2011)

Giorni di spasimato amore (Milan: Longanesi, 2014)

Articles

‘Il primo libro (non) cambia la vita’ (Corriere della Sera, 9 September 2012, p.15)

Videos

‘Scrittori per un anno: Romana Petri’ (video – Rai Letteratura/Rai Educational, Direttore: Silvia Calandrelli, 9 April 2014), available online at http://www.letteratura.rai.it/articoli/scrittori-per-un-anno-romana-petri/20337/default.aspx

English Translations of  Petri's Work

An Umbrian War [Translation of Alle Case Venie by Sharon Wood] (London: Toby Press, 2000)

Other People’s Fathers [Translation of I padri degli altri by Avril Bardoni] (London: Toby Press, 2001)

The Flying Island [Translation of La donna delle Azzorre by Sharon Wood] (London: Toby Press, 2002)

Compiled by David Albert Best (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

 

Criticism

Batassa, Ilaria: 'Una lettera senza indirizzo: «Giorni di spasimato amore» di Romana Petri' (Critica Letteraria, 5 May 2014), available online at http://www.criticaletteraria.org/2014/05/giorni-di-spasimato-amore-romana-petri-recensione.html

Best, David Albert: ‘A Matriarchal Reading of Alle Case Venie: Petri’s Challenge to Conventional Representations of the Female Peasant’ in Politics and Culture in Post-war Italy ed. by Linda Risso and Monica Boria (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2006, pp. 16-33)

—: Ruralism in Central Italian Writers 1927-1997. From Strapaese Landscapes to the Gendering of Nature: Fabio Tombari, Paolo Volponi, Carlo Cassola, Romana Petri (Ancona: Ancona University Press/il lavoro editoriale, 2010)

—: ‘Alle Case Venie: A Key to Reading Romana Petri’s oeuvre’ (2014), available online at http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/5630/

Dell’Aquila, Michele: ‘Romana Petri’ in I margini della scrittura: Studi novecenteschi (Fasano: Schena, 1994, pp. 306-307)

Giannantonio, Pompeo: ‘Il gambero blu e altri racconti’ in Scrittrici d’Italia. Proceedings of ‘Convegno Nazionale di Studi’, Rapallo, 14 May 1994 ed. by Francesco De Nicola and Pier Antonio Zannoni (Genoa: Costa & Nolan, 1995, pp. 98-99)

Menechella, Grazia: ‘Tra postfemminismo e sperimentalismo: Romana Petri e il calore della lingua’ (Quaderni d’italianistica 14.2, 1993, pp. 289-298)

Roat, Francesco: ‘Il disonore dei padri’ (Review of I padri degli altri) (Caffè Europa, 15 January 2000), http://www.caffeeuropa.it/libri/66libri-petri.html

Compiled by David Albert Best (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

 

Interviews

Batassa, Ilaria: ‘Il Salotto – I fantasmi invisibili e i fantasmi visibili: due interviste a margine a distanza, un’auto-intervista a margine’ (Critica Letteraria, 28 May 2014), online at http://www.criticaletteraria.org/2014/05/il-salotto-i-fantasmi-invisibili-e-i.html

— : ‘CriticaLibera: Romana Petri a colloquio con Dino Buzzati (Critica Letteraria, 17 May 2014), online at http://www.criticaletteraria.org/2014/05/criticalibera-romana-petri-colloquio.html

Fiori, Antonella: ‘Come ho ucciso mio marito. Tradimento e vendetta per Romana Petri. Quasi un’autobiografia fantastica’ (Repubblica delle donne, 12 March 2005, pp. 72-74)

Lissi, Grazia: ‘Sono figlia del palcoscenico, ma so anche fare a pugni...’  (La Provincia di Como, 19 March 2011, p. 49)

Piccone, Marilia: ‘Dal Portogallo, con amore: Romana Petri racconta le sue passioni’ (25 November 2008), online at http://www.wuz.it/intervista-libro/2763/Intervista-Romana-Petri.html

Speroni, Anna Maria: ‘Per l’amore perfetto ci vuole un marito piu’ giovane’ (Io Donna, 19 February 2011, pp. 136-138)

Vittori, Maria Vittoria: ‘Compito della letteratura? Disturbare e problematizzare’ (Liberazione, 9 July 2011), online at
http://www.arteecarte.it/cat/stampa.php?nn=1643

Compiled by David Albert Best (Université Libre de Bruxelles)