Magazine article World Literature Today

Dacia Maraini: The 2011 Puterbaugh Fellow

Magazine article World Literature Today

Dacia Maraini: The 2011 Puterbaugh Fellow

Article excerpt

Dacia Maraini (b. 1936, www.daciamaraini. com) is the author of numerous novels, plays, and poetry collections, several of which have been adapted for the screen. Her plays have been translated and performed around the world, and she remains an active writer, director, actor, feminist, and commentator on politics and society. Her latest projects include two novels: L'amore rubato, which deals with violence against women, and Chiara di Assisi: Elogio della disobbedienza, a novelistic portrait of a medieval saint. Her play My Name Is Antonino Calderone, about the confession of a man who flees the Mafia and explains what it is like from the inside, is currently on stage in London (see WLT, July 2011).

What outside the realm of literature has drawn your attention of late?

What troubles me deeply in this moment is the dispersion of a new Islamic fanaticism. The thing that worries me the most is its popularity among Europeans: the fact that thousands of young people leave from London, Paris, Rome, and Athens to go and fight with ISIS seems to me a very serious and dangerous sign. And the even graver and more incomprehensible part, then, is the explosive mix that these fanatics propose: on one hand an archaic mentality and culture, based in war against the other, hate as a principle of life, the submission of women, vendetta as a political strategy, the refusal of knowledge, and, on the other hand, the reckless and nonchalant use of advanced technology: computers, cell phones, sophisticated weapons, highly equipped airplanes, bombs made with the latest technologies, etc.

What current writing projects do you have underway or on the horizon?

I'm writing a new novel and this is always a very big undertaking. So I have been tucked up in the mountains for almost two months now in order to write in peace. The novel is about the disappearance of a person. This is another theme that touches me and troubles me: too many people disappear without a trace, especially women. Often they're found murdered. Other times they're never found at all-neither dead nor alive. What is meant by this erasure of the body in a world that constantly exalts the body yet at the same time reifies it and makes it consumable? …

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