The New York Times

Elena Ferrante Series Coming to HBO

Variety

HBO, Rai to Adapt Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’ as Drama Series

Nick Vivarelli

ROME – HBO and Italian state broadcaster Rai have teamed up on “My Brilliant Friend,” the hotly anticipated drama series based on the first of four “Neapolitan Novels” written by Italian author Elena Ferrante, whose books have legions of fervent fans around the world.

FremantleMedia-owned Wildside and Domenico Procacci’s Fandango are producing the Italian-language series. The plan is to start shooting this summer in Naples for a premiere targeted in 2018.

Italian director Saverio Costanzo (“Private,” “Hungry Hearts”) will direct. Jennifer Schuur (“Big Love,” “Hannibal”) will serve as executive producer on “My Brilliant Friend” for Wildside and Fandango. The international distributor is FremantleMedia Intl.

Costanzo told Variety that Ferrante’s sweeping saga is “very literary but also very cinematographic” and said he planned to stick as closely as possible to the storyline of the book. “The characters really leap out of the book and come alive,” he said. “That makes it easier for us to transpose this cinematographically.”

Wildside and Fandango envision the series as 32 episodes covering all four books. HBO is on board for the first eight episodes.

Though casting is still being decided, the production is expected to draw widely from the large Neapolitan talent pool.

“My Brilliant Friend” tells the story of elderly woman Elena Greco who, after her best friend Lila disappears without a trace, starts writing the story of their 60-year friendship. It begins in the 1950s in the tough streets of Naples, which undergoes transformations along with the rest of Italy as the two women’s symbiotic, though often conflicted, relationship evolves.

“Through her characters, Elena and Lila, we will witness a lifelong friendship set against the seductive social web of Naples, Italy,” said HBO Programming president Casey Bloys. “An exploration of the complicated intensity of female friendship, these ambitious stories will no doubt resonate with the HBO audience.”

The Ferrante skein marks HBO’s second high-end Italian TV series, following “The Young Pope,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino, which was also co-produced by HBO with Wildside. “Pope” aired in Italy on Sky Italia.

This time, the Italian broadcaster on “My Brilliant Friend” will be Rai. Its  hefty investment in the Ferrante adaptation marks a drastic departure from the more mainstream and largely local TV dramas that have been staples for ages on its general entertainment channels.

“This is an ambitious project that satisfies many of our public service goals,” said Rai Managing Director Antonio Campo Dall’Orto. Striving for quality and cultural value at the mammoth pubcaster represents a novelty.

Costanzo said the vivid characters that Ferrante has crafted will be compelling to a wide range of viewers.

“They are characters that each one of us can inhabit no matter what country you are from,” Costanzo said. “They are so well told, in such detail, that we can all identify with them and their desire to emancipate themselves….Elena Ferrante has managed to tell in the first person things that are very intimate, risky, that we all feel but that you need plenty of courage to admit.”

The 41-year-old director broke out internationally in 2004 with “Private,” which was set in a Palestinian home in an occupied zone. More recently he lensed the New York-set “Hungry Hearts,” co-starring Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher, an offbeat drama based on a novel about New Age diet obsessions.

Costanzo said he was approaching the Ferrante series “as if I were making a big movie. For me the difference between TV and cinema is very subtle; today’s great TV series are cinematographic.”

He added: “From our conversations, I have a sense that HBO are the right people to help us make a great show because they have great faith in the audience.”

Costanzo is currently working on the screenplays for the eight hourlong episodes with top Italian scribes Francesco Piccolo (“Human Capital”), Laura Paolucci (“Gomorrah” the TV series) and with Ferrante herself, although “Elena Ferrante” is a pseudonym. He said he’s been communicating with Ferrante via email.

Last year, an investigative journalist for Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore identified Italian literary translator Anita Raja as Ferrante. Costanzo says his focus is strictly on translating Ferrante’s work to the screen.

“I am among those who are not interested who she [really is]. I am just interested in her literary world, not her human reality,” Costanzo said.

iNews

The poems that make Olivia Colman, Elena Ferrante, Judi Dench and other ‘grown women’ cry

Elena Ferrante, writer

‘I Took Power in My Hand’ by Emily Dickinson (1862)

At times I’ve read these lines as a reflection on women’s writing, at times as a symbol of any female venture. The first painful fact is that Dickinson has no models of her own sex to refer to, nothing, anyway, that has the aura of David. This is the source of the inevitable comparison with the male figure from the Bible. His hand is bigger, the Power at his disposal is bigger. As a result, Dickinson, in order to make an equivalent gesture, needs twice the boldness.

But what’s the use of being bolder? The woman who takes aim and throws her stone does not confront simply the Goliath of the youth with the slingshot: her Goliath is the entire world. Thus that throw can only be ineffectual, its sole victim the thrower. And so we arrive at the wonderful last two lines. Is the Goliath of the audacious Emily ‘too large’ or is it that she is ‘too small’? That adjective, followed by the question mark, moves me. I wish all Emilys not to be small by nature, I wish they would just try, and try again, and so become large. (Translation by Ann Goldstein)

I took my Power in my Hand–
And went against the World –
’Twas not so much as David – had –
But I – was twice as bold –

I aimed my Pebble – but Myself
Was all the one that fell –
Was it Goliath – was too large –
Or was myself – too small?

The Stage

Casting announced for Elena Ferrante stage adaptation

by Georgia Snow

Niamh Cusack and Catherine McCormack are to lead the cast of My Brilliant Friend, the stage adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.

Adapted for the stage by April De Angelis, My Brilliant Friend is directed by Melly Still and premieres at the Rose Theatre Kingston in February.

Running from February 25 to April 2, it will have a press night on March 11.

The new two-part production will star Cusack and McCormack alongside a company made up of Justin Avoth, Adam Burton, Martin Hyder, Victoria Moseley, Emily Mytton, Ira Mandela Siobhan, Jonah Russell, Badria Timimi, Toby Wharton and Emily Wachter.

It has set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, sound by Jon Nicholls and music by James Fortune.

Movement is by Sarah Dowling and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

The show is produced by the Rose Theatre Kingston.

 

Variety

Novelist Elena Ferrante Spawns Documentary ‘Ferrante Fever’, Match Factory Takes Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

Boston Globe

A row of Elena Ferrante books at the Harvard Book Store.

It may be the next best thing to her being there.

Brookline Booksmith and WBUR have just announced that they will present a conversation on the work of the illusive Elena Ferrante Nov. 29 to mark the publication of Ferrante’s first collection of nonfiction, “Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey,” a collection of letters, essays, and interviews conducted via e-mail.

The event will feature Ann Goldstein, Ferrante’s translator; Vogue book critic Megan O’Grady; and Michael Reynolds, editor in chief of Europa, Ferrante’s US publisher. Christopher Lydon, host of WBUR’s “Open Source,” will moderate the discussion.

Ferrante, a pseudonym for an author desperate to remain unmasked, is best known in the United States for four novels called the Neapolitan series, which chronicle a beautiful and difficult decadeslong friendship between two girls from Naples. The books, translated from the Italian, have quietly and unexpectedly become a huge hit among American readers.

The event will take place at Coolidge Corner Theatre at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5, available through Brookline Booksmith.

Corriere Canadese

Time Out New York

#FerranteNightFever

#FerranteNightFever

If you spent your subway rides this year with your nose in one of Elena Ferrante’s heartbreaking Neapolitan novels, you’re not alone. Join other fans at launch parties for her collection of essays, Frantumaglia, and children’s book, The Beach at Night. Head bookstores all over town this week for panels about the author, which include John Turturro, translator Ann Goldstein and other guests.

Translationista

Ann Goldstein was awarded the Italian Prose in Translation Award for her translation of The Story of The Lost Child

2016 ALTA TRANSLATION PRIZES ANNOUNCED

SagawaCoverSPDThis weekend at the American Literary Translators Association conference in Oakland, the winners of the two 2016 National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose were announced, along with the Lucien Stryk Prize for a translation from an Asian language, and the Italian Prose in Translation Award. Without further ado, here are the winners:

The National Translation Award in Poetry has gone to Hilary Kaplan for her translation of Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas (Phoneme Media).

The National Translation Award in Prose has gone to Liz Harris, for her translation of Tristano Dies: A Life by Antonio Tabucchi (Archipelago)

The Lucien Stryk Prize has gone to Sawako Nakayasu for her translation of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books).

The Italian Prose in Translation Award has gone to Ann Goldstein for her translation of The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (whose name is Elena Ferrante, thank you very much) (Europa Editions).

Congratulations to all this year’s ALTA prize winners!

The New York Times

Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’ Goes From Page to Stage

Time

Hillary Clinton Loves Reading Elena Ferrante: ‘It’s Just Hypnotic’

By Allison Sadlier / Entertainment Weekly
Sept. 11, 2016
‘I could not stop reading it or thinking about it’

There’s nothing like becoming obsessed with a good book, a sensation Hillary Clinton knows very well according to the third episode of her podcast With Her, co-hosted by Max Linsky.

The Democratic presidential nominee chatted about what she does during her limited downtime on the campaign trail and said, “I need the time to collect myself, to catch up on my reading, my sleeping, my exercising all of which get pushed to the bottom of the pile if I don’t make time.”

The nominee notes she reads “the serious stuff I’m supposed to read,” but that “homework” hasn’t stopped her from finding scants of time to read for enjoyment. Clinton counts novels, spy thrillers, mysteries, and biographies among her favorite genres, but admits she’s currently “engulfed” in one series in particular.

“You know what I have started reading and it’s just hypnotic is the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante,” she tells Linsky, commenting on Ferrante’s intoxicating novels about female relationships in Naples, Italy that have an intense cult following. “I had to stop myself so I read the first one. I could not stop reading it or thinking about it.”

Now in an attempt to savor the series, Clinton explains that she’s “rationing” out the second novel to make the four-part series last a little longer – and not keep her from the campaign.

Listen to the full With Her podcast here.

Slate

Hillary Clinton Shamelessly Panders to Elena Ferrante Fans

 451638002-former-us-secretary-of-state-hillary-clinton-signs

Entertainment Weekly

Hillary Clinton loves reading Elena Ferrante

‘It’s just hypnotic,’ she says

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s nothing like becoming obsessed with a good book, a sensation Hillary Clinton knows very well according to the third episode of her podcast With Her, co-hosted by Max Linsky.

The Democratic presidential nominee chatted about what she does during her limited downtime on the campaign trail and said, “I need the time to collect myself, to catch up on my reading, my sleeping, my exercising all of which get pushed to the bottom of the pile if I don’t make time.”

The nominee notes she reads “the serious stuff I’m supposed to read,” but that “homework” hasn’t stopped her from finding scants of time to read for enjoyment. Clinton counts novels, spy thrillers, mysteries, and biographies among her favorite genres, but admits she’s currently “engulfed” in one series in particular.

“You know what I have started reading and it’s just hypnotic is the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante,” she tells Linsky, commenting on Ferrante’s intoxicating novels about female relationships in Naples, Italy that have an intense cult following. “I had to stop myself so I read the first one. I could not stop reading it or thinking about it.”

Now in an attempt to savor the series, Clinton explains that she’s “rationing” out the second novel to make the four-part series last a little longer – and not keep her from the campaign.

Listen to the full With Her podcast here.

BBC Radio 4

Episode 1 | Drama,Reading Europe – Italy: My Brilliant Friend

From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is the first in a quartet of books entitled The Neapolitan Novels. They are a forensic exploration of friendship between Lila and the story’s narrator, Lena. This is no normal friendship, it’s a friendship that loves, hurts, supports and destroys – and yet it is one that lasts a lifetime.

It begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets two girls, Elena and Lila, learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone – or anything – else as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship.

It is the story of a nation, of a neighbourhood, a city and a country undergoing momentous change.

This first book centres on their childhood and adolescence.

From the book by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein.
Dramatised by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Celia de Wolff

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.