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.

McSweeney’s

I AM ELENA FERRANTE.

BY 

I have a confession to make: I am Elena Ferrante.

When, in My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante brutally exposed the class divisions in Neapolitan society, that was me. When she documented a tempestuous female friendship in Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, that was me as well. When she declined interview requests from the world’s leading literary publications — also me. They were all me because they were all Elena Ferrante and I am Elena Ferrante.

Much of the speculation around my identity has started from the assumptions that I am female, middle-aged, Italian, from Naples, have lived in Pisa, and am a professor in some humanities-related field. Very few literary detectives have figured out that I am a male, 26-year-old American whose experience with Pisa is limited to viewing a picture of a friend holding up the Leaning Tower through a hilariously original manipulation of perspective, and whose work experience is limited to data entry, SAT tutoring, and multiple unpaid internships.

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The Pool

How Elena Ferrante made the neglected Naples a must-visit destination

It’s grittier than Rome or Venice, but suddenly tourists, inspired by Ferrante’s tales of Lila and Lenu, are flocking to to Naples. Let Katherine Wilson be your guide

By Katherine Wilson

Ever since I moved to Naples 20 years ago and fell in love with the city, I’ve had a conversation that has repeated itself endless times with Anglo-American friends. It starts with an enthusiastic “We’re coming to Italy!” and ends with me sounding like I’m being paid by the Neapolitan tourist commission. My friends tell me that they’re going to Rome, Florence, Venice. Not Naples. They may travel through it to get the boat for Capri or the Amalfi Coast… but stay there? No, thanks. We’ve heard that it’s dirty and dangerous. Gritty, rough, corrupt.

What about the Caravaggios? The medieval castles in the centre of the city? The magnificent opera house that Mozart longed to play in, and food that is arguably the best in the world? Not to mention the people – big-hearted, hilariously charismatic Southerners who can entertain your pants off just by answering a simple question about directions!

Better not. There are so many other places to see in Italy.

I gave up. You don’t want to experience it? Your loss. Statevene a casa, they would say in Neapolitan dialect. Stay at home.

And then a woman – or a man, somebody! – calling themselves Elena Ferrante wrote four novels set in the poorest, most corrupt part of Naples at the poorest, most corrupt time in the city’s history. Now all my friends want to visit Naples. The human psyche is a mysterious thing.

I loved Ferrante’s novels, don’t get me wrong. I’m embarrassed to say that I screamed an ugly swear word at my children at one point when they interrupted me toward the end of book four. The writer not only portrays female relationships with depth and nuance, but captures the contradictions that are at the heart of Naples and Neapolitan culture. She/he/it recreates the gritty, the dangerous, and the lurid and sets it against the sensory paradise that is Napoli. A bright beam of Mediterranean light exposing the dark recesses of the human heart. ‘O sole mio, indeed.

“We’re coming to Naples!” women friends have begun to tell me. They’ve read Ferrante and they can’t get enough. They want to take the risk, to live it. They want to follow one of the Ferrante tours that are now cropping up in the centro, and the Rione Luzzatti. They also want to drink in the beauty of the volcano, the sea, the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. And eat a pizza that will take them to new levels of transcendence.

Naples has been a tourist destination for three thousand years. Wealthy Roman families came to summer along the coastline of Posillipo, now the posh residential area of the city, and in the 1700s Naples was the place to be: Jean-Jacques Rousseau commented that “if you want to know if you have a spark within you, run – no fly! – to Naples…” Stendhal said, “Naples and Paris, the two only capitals.” But perhaps the last person who was as successful as Ferrante in getting women interested in visiting Naples was Lady Emma Hamilton, wife of the British consul to Naples Lord Hamilton and lover of Lord Nelson. Lady Emma gradually abandoned all social conventions when she settled at the magnificent Villa Emma on the shoreline of Naples, eating and dancing her way to pure Neapolitan bliss. Artists depicted her in her stunning milieu, and the paintings were hotter than Vesuvian lava.

Ferrante not only portrays female relationships with depth and nuance, but captures the contradictions that are at the heart of Naples and Neapolitan culture

Come to Naples, I can imagine her urging her girlfriends in the UK, and I’ll show you a good time.

Recently, I met up with a group of friends who, spurred on by Ferrante, came to Naples and did a tour of the centro. I took them for lunch to Antonio e Antonio, a delectable restaurant and pizzeria that looks out over the medieval Castel dell’Ovo on the waterfront.  After eating an aubergine parmesan that made one of my girlfriends throw a napkin over her face and head and say SILENCE! I CANNOT RECEIVE ANY OTHER STIMULI WHILE I AM EXPERIENCING THIS, they asked where they should go in the afternoon.

I toyed with the idea of some of the magnificent Bourbon palaces, the ruins of the Roman city of Pozzuoli. But those suggestions, beautiful as they are, are not seductive. And as Lady Emma and Elena Ferrante have showed us, Naples does not impress, it seduces.

“Let’s go see Villa Emma.”

My friends, after their day of seeing the many colours and emotions of this city (and hitting back numerous shots of the sweet syrupy nectar that is Neapolitan coffee) agreed unanimously that they want to come back. Naples may be outside their comfort zone, but guess what? It’s worth it.

The top Elena Ferrante destinations:

  1. The stradone of Elena and Lila’s childhood is based on Via Taddeo da Sessa, which cuts through the Rione Luzzatti: a poor area flanked by the Napoli train station and the prison of Poggioreale (one of the most crowded and dangerous in all of Italy).
  2. Piazza dei Martiri, the site of Lila’s elegant shoe store, is one of the most beautiful piazzas in the middle of the chic Chiaia shopping district.
  3. The rettifilo, where the characters in Ferrante’s novels take Sunday strolls, is the bustling Corso Umberto, where you can find inexpensive shops and street food.
  4. The Bagno Elena beach club (Via Posillipo 14) is next to the lido where Elena brought the children of the stationer to swim. You can rent deck chairs or enjoy the view from the beach bar.
  5. The Parco Virgiliano is at the breathtaking summit of the Posillipo promontory, where Michele Solara buys an extravagant apartment as a status symbol.

Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law by Katherine Wilson is published by Fleet

@kwilsonwriter

The Millions

Spurn the Translator at Your Own Peril

 By

A few years ago I was invited to speak at a New York bookstore with Elena Ferrante’s translator,Ann Goldstein. At the time, Ferrante was not yet the literary sensation she is today; she had a few slim volumes out with Europa Editions, for which Ann and I have done an extensive amount of translating — at that point, our combined efforts apparently accounted for over a quarter of their catalog. The event was modestly attended, as such events generally are, even in New York. But for a moment,Ann and I were on stage, visible, recognized for what we do.

Now we have “Ferrante Fever.” For for me as a translator, the phenomenon is doubly fascinating because of the author’s deliberate invisibility. Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym; we suspect she lives in Naples, but other than that she is a mystery. It is Ann Goldstein who has become the “face” of Ferrante — who is interviewed, invited to festivals or events that authors regularly attend. This reversal of the usual relationship between author and translator is an opportunity for the reader to remember — or realize — that not only is literature in translation something to enjoy and cherish, but that it is a collaborative effort. The translator, like the interpreter of a piece of classical music, is an artist in her own right, not merely a backstage employee of the publishing company whose name is all to often left out of reviews or other publicity. (Imagine advertising a concert at Carnegie Hall without crediting the soloist.)

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