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January 2024

Exciting news! My novel – working title “A Respectable Woman” – which was published by Insel Verlag in Germany last year, is to come out in English! A wonderful Toronto publisher, Rising Action Publishing Co, very new, already very successful, keen as mustard, will bring it out in November this year, possibly under a different title. It will be distributed by Simon and Schuster and therefore hopefully also available in the UK, the US and other English-speaking countries.

To recap: the novel is based on the recently-discovered story of my scandalous grandmother who, struggling for survival as a “fallen woman”, ended up putting her children in an orphanage and spying for the Germans in the First World War.

Meanwhile I have produced another book, a short account of the experiences of our little community, Trevi, in Umbria, during the pandemic. During the first lockdown it dawned on me that very little had been recorded, either in the world at large or in Trevi, about the last really big pandemic to sweep Europe, that of the so-called “Spanish” flu in 1918-20. So I interviewed about 30 people, including the Mayor, doctors, patients, nurses, shopkeepers and so on, who kindly recounted their experiences. The result, translated into Italian by my friend Stefania Proietti, was published by Era Nuova, run by another dear friend, Paolo Lombardi of nearby Campello, under the title “Trevi ai Tempi di Covid” (“Trevi in the Time of Covid”). The launch, on December 16, attracted a sizeable audience, including several uniformed members of the local Civil Defence (Protezione Civile) group who had been the heroes of the moment. It was followed by a long and lively discussion which, if we had not had to leave the hall, would probably have gone on half the night.

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