Who indeed? Let us start with the facts shall we? Elena Ferrante is a much celebrated and a highly acclaimed author whose half dozen novels have been translated into English, French, Dutch, and Spanish among other languages and who has twice featured in prestigious Award lists with The Story of a New Name making the 2014 Best Translated Book Award shortlist and The Story of the Lost Child making this year’s Man Booker Prize Longlist. S/He is also not real!
Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym and whoever is behind her writing has been a carefully kept secret with her creator claiming that “books, once they are written, have no need of their authors.”, however it seems likely that whoever it is is probably a woman as in several pieces of correspondence Elena has referred to herself as being a mother but other than that her identity is, or perhaps was, a mystery.
An Italian Historian by the name of Marco Santagatabelieves he has discovered the person behind the mysterious Elena.
He claims he discovered her identity through a mixture of philological analysis and simple sleuthing.
He concluded that Elena had a detailed knowledge of the cityscape of Pisa and so had probably lived in Pisa but as certain street names used in a novel set in Pisa had street names that had changed in 1968 had left prior to 1966 and also, as Elena had a detailed, expert understanding of modern Italian politics that they were a learned person who had probably attended university whilst in Pisa.
Marcella studied in the town of Pisa during the years of 1964-66 meaning that she fits the predicted residential aspect of Santagata’s profiling, she also studied at Scuola Normale which is the same prestigious residence of learning that the protagonist from Elena’s novel The Story of a New Name studied. These details coupled with Santagata’s philological findings seem to point firmly in Marcella’s direction.
She however is having none of it, stating
“I thank all those who thought I was a happy best-seller writer, but as I tried to say in recent days, I am not Elena Ferrante,”
But then. someone who wanted to remain anonymous would say that, wouldn’t they.