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Pezzarossa 2

 Migrant writers? Tell them to stop! An overview of recent Italian migrant works*

by Fulvio Pezzarossa (University of Bologna)

As we had partly foreseen[1], the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Italian language texts written by emigrants to Italy[2] marked a watershed between different generations and, correspondingly, literary movements. Nevertheless, this change has failed to address the most serious weaknesses of this until now laboured, tenacious, underground, yet alluring phenomenon, especially in relation to the casualness of its critical approach and unplanned editorial choices, which are analogous to the absence of well-structured social strategies able to interact positively with one of the most important factors in the transformation of Italian society.

In 2012[3], the gradual abatement of some of the most relevant voices making up the first generation of Italian migrant writers[4] coincided, paradoxically, with isolated initiatives carried out by some major publishing houses in Italy. Mondadori, for example, made its debut in this field opting for the reputed freshness of a second generation author[5], having been selected through the obvious and stale channel of an immigrants-only[6] literary competition (actually promoted by Fazi, a different publishing house) resulting in a product that is not very original and that combines numerous mainstream narrative elements and an exotic-sentimental tone that clashes with the civil aims of the preceding pages.

The simple narrative structure of this work can clearly be seen in its representation of an unresolved sense of belonging through the rigid alternation of the chapters in which a distinction is made between Syria, representing adolescence, and Italy, representing adulthood, a clear example of double focalization, an old narrative device which has often been pointed out by scholars. It was in Damascus that, for example, certain contradictions which characterized Sulinda, the main character in S. Abdel Qader’s autofiction Porto il velo, adoro i Queen. Nuove italiane crescono[7] first emerged. In the same way, one notes how the protagonist of Shady Hamadi’s work reflects certain contradictions like the complexity of masculine identity while sitting with his cousin, smoking a narghile and dreaming about a journey through the desert of souls to the well of knowledge, under the aegis of Gibran and Coelho[8].

We can identify here two different, opposing currents: on the one hand, a choice to include ‘New Italian’ works in the main editorial strategies, and on the other, the tendency to give these works a mere testimonial function[9], as can be seen in bombastic titles where words such as queen and housemaid[10] are often used side by side. This could be seen as the result of an opening up of the civilization/suffering vs. Primitivism/happiness debate, a typically colonial, missionary approach leading to the misrepresentation of cultures that are perceived as primitive by depriving them of the opportunity to express themselves directly.

Sonzogno’s Il mio nome è Regina[11], in which the protagonist, having emigrated to Italy from Burkina Faso, is transformed from queen to go-go dancer, is indicative of just how deeply rooted this mindset is.  With her book’s eye-catching pink cover and frivolous picture, Sonzogno tries to raise the expectations of an audience that is unfamiliar with this particular type of text.

The use of a native informant as a textual device and its implications accentuates the contradiction between a story which is supposedly true (the story of the protagonist’s father, the Burkina Faso ambassador, is in contrast to the wonderful postcolonial experience of Thomas Sankara’s Burkina Faso) and the pure fantasy title page which refers to the protagonist’s difficult stay in Italy and her final redemption from a drug and sex hell thanks to the university environment[12].

This editorial project, albeit without the same media success, mirrors that of modern day Cameroonian hero, Yvan Sagnet, a university student and union organizer, who fought against the system of illegal employment and the enslavement of African workers in Puglia [13]. His clumsy and strictly communicative use of the Italian language on the popular Italian TV program Che tempo che fa corresponds with the widespread use of topical and thematic stereotypes in a book which recounts Sagnet’s epic drawing heavily on previous migrant literature writing but without equalling the richness and foresight of Moussa Ba’s unfortunately overlooked account written more than twenty years ago[14].

The mere recording of events is quite functional to the anticamorra strategy promoted by Roberto Saviano, who contributed to the emergence of a literary current inspired by what one could call the Lombrosian-adventurous exploration of ethnocriminogenus characteristics and symbols, of which Nicolai Lilin, ‘a tattoo artist who comes from the Siberian steppes’, is one of the most eminent and prolific exponents[15].

The Italian publishing house Einaudi,  has chosen a distinctly market-oriented policy, and apart from Hamid Ziarati[16], generally avoids promoting authors with histories of migrant writing. Einaudi has therefore chosen to publish not very well established authors like Italian-Croatian Nina Mimica[17] who has written a rather unusual and perhaps slightly too ambitious parody of the movie industry in which she worked. Einaudi has also decided to continue to publish the well-known writer Ornella Vorpsi, whose latest book[18], in the absence of any useful editorial information, could be considered her first to be written directly in Italian without the spectacular trans-linguistic labyrinths of her previous works.

The title, which alludes to the author’s vocation to move within a framework of uprooted literary sources, that it is to say ‘Fuorimondo’ (‘Out-of-the-world’), is the first and probably the most evident symbol of the evanescence of places and cultures which the author recreates within the text through the use of overly refined and often over-elaborated artificial, alienating language.

The author’s preference for disturbing images contrasts with the flimsy expressive structure. The result also does not hide the systematic substitution of lexical elements aimed at making the pre-existing text more astonishing through a set up and tear-down technique, perhaps due to the author’s professional familiarity with visual products[19].

Having being perceived as protagonists of a violent and invasive migration, the on-going integration of Albanian immigrants in Italy provides clear evidence of the presence of many authors from that country beyond the Adriatic that has always been one of Italy’s tacit satellites.

The work of remarkable Albanian poet Gezim Hajdari[20] seems to be characterized by the necessity to translate (translation in the broadest sense of the word that modern postcolonial perspectives attribute to it) Albanian culture using the Italian language. Hajdari uses Albanian expressions and songs to make the reader understand the pride as well as the depth and the breadth of his country’s culture. In doing so he avoids any kind of folkloristic curiosity and especially the nostalgic tones that seem to entangle writers who are not able to ‘mentally cross the divide between Albanian and Italian shores’[21]. Thus their works fail in giving real and intelligible value to characters that are trapped within the contradiction of different unpursuable directions, as Irma Kurti writes:

Everyone is free to live the ‘after’ according to what he feels, he thinks, but at least with the desire to move forward and find the lost serenity[22].

The contribution of this small country, Albania, to a creative innovation appears at times to be spontaneous and chaotic, as can be seen in the experimental aspects of the spy stories like Latiffi’s Lo yàtaghan[23] and Ylli Polovina’s Intrigo sull’Adriatico, which are direct witnesses to an ambiguous world split between diplomacy and espionage[24]. Nevertheless, the prevailing literary current still seems to be that of family sagas, wedding traditions and social rules frequently written about by female authors such as Anilda Ibrahimi, whose last book could be defined as a coming-of-age story with two central characters, set in ‘un aspro villaggio, dove entrambe sono cresciute, ad aspettare la sua [sic] sorte’ (‘a tough village where both protagonists have grown up awaiting their destiny’)[25].

The text evokes an important topos that is frequently found in Ibrahimi’s writing as well as that of many female writers’ works, where pregnancy, conception and the writing of a book are weaved together, or the birth theme is acted out, archetypically recalling the anxiety of a life and the regeneration of a culture.

The obsession with death that continues to emanate from unresolved conflicts in the Balkans is overcome by giving birth. Elvira Dones’ work deals with these situations[26], and with her usual clear and precise writing style is able to transport the reader to places far away from her current, US home.  Together with writers like Janeczek[27] amoung others, Dones writes about war and conflict, themes which are unpleasant to the Western audience because, as with the works of Jadrejcic and Serdakowski, they are too involved in those same difficult situations to be able to appreciate their literary translation[28].

Repression and self-consolatory processes occur through literary works, and it is no coincidence that they are subordinate to the construction mechanisms of the category of the ‘Orient’, according to Said’s remarkable reconstruction, highlighting the Balkans’ focus on ‘primitive passions, family feuds and death’, as seen in Artur Spanjolli’s La sposa rapita, in which this prolific but not very well-known author attempts to draw the reader into ‘a dark tale of ancient Albania’, as stated on the cover of this novel, which presents a vague historical and trans-generational structure[29]. Spanjolli’s I nipoti di Scanderbeg[30] is a collective tragedy about the ship Vlora, which casts an invasive and sinister shadow over the last twenty years of Italian consciousness[31], that not even the adventures of Andi are able to cast off. An intelligent young man, after landing in Italy, Andi meditates on the less pleasant experiences and contradictions characterizing the Western way of life, not limiting himself to the ‘metaphysical consequences’: ‘I couldn’t shit […] I had to force it’.

A coprophilic vision forms the basis of Darien Levani’s sociological vision, in which the author, through a hyper-metaphorical structure and what one could define as an almost chequered texture, creates an undoubtedly original narrative environment, within which European spaces are clearly contrasted with Balkan states between which, in the middle ground, groups of Rapati, i.e. immigrants, ever subordinate to whichever system of domination, move ceaselessly. Their only strengths come directly from the energy obtained by qukapik’s[32] excrements (capitalism stercum diaboli). The qukapik, a woodpecker, at the end of this complex saga reveals itself to the protagonists as ‘only ‘un idea [sic] e non un oggetto. […] era solo un idea [sic]’ (‘an idea, not an object. […] It was only an idea’).

Of somewhat different stature is another Albanian author, Idol Hoxhvogli[33], who demonstrates the positive results of the experience of cultural interaction linked to university education. Idolo Hoxhvogli’s first book is impressive not only because the author uses words to trace routes and to draw objects through the page layout, but because calligraphic and avant-garde devices enhance Hoxhvogli’s informal use of original and mature language, which is also enriched by conceptual and expressive nuances and an unconventional punctuation/rhythm connection which emphasizes his bitter irony.

From a distance the author softens the directness of personal expression, he also uses the journey and landing as a literary macro theme from a settled perspective, reinforced by a personal point of view, which still originates from distance and disorientation. Distance and displacement are the essential elements in Introduzione al mondo which reads: ‘of the huge, exaggerated number of people who inhabit this one world, there are two: us and the other’. From this feeling of otherness emerges, with the power of the grotesque, a ruthless analysis of those elements that have for many years been the main reason behind Albanian emigration to the West: the consumer society and the emptiness of a dull but attractive non-civilization. Thus the terms of the barbarism/civilization debate, which is described in the novel’s incipit, are totally reversed, through a post-ethnic gaze, based on shared cultural and literary tools, aimed at providing a solid and cohesive critique of the existing situation, by referring to essential values in defence of a precarious constitution. From Albania, still a mysterious land, comes an unexpected text able to entirely change one’s point of view, reminding one of certain aspects of Gianni Amelio’s beautiful film, Lamerica.

In his journey back to his country of origin in order to trace his family history,  Aldo Renato Terrusi[34] uncovers vivid accounts of Albania’s past, with discontinuously alternating periods of domination and landings on the Adriatic coastline, representing the core of a long-lasting colonial strategy which exposed single individuals to both good and bad situations, effectively represented by the long journeys of the families of Italian migrant colonies across the Mediterranean, through Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Albania. This opens up a huge debate on how to define Italian post-colonialism, a debate which so far has been too narrow, focussing only on a few figures, exponents of forms of writing  related to specific historic-geographic situations[35].

The work of Carla Macoggi, the first author to write a post-colonial text in Italian, which has now been re-edited and divided in two texts Kkeywa and La nemesi della rossa[36], is still largely unknown. Macoggi proposes an original and comprehensively broad memoir, a literary genre often chosen by women writers who are part of a minority group (e.g. Italian-American female writers), in which the author weaves together painful personal memories with the destiny of a country, her homeland, which refuses to accept the children of – its colonial experience. In her work Macoggi also reveals the persistent presence of mechanisms of domination in the relationship between peripheral areas and the motherland, which is highly resistant to a real inner change hiding hostility and aggression towards the subordinate, in the apparent silence of the first republican season, ready to be deployed in the racist narrative of the present.

At the same time in which the literary field has marginalized voices and narrative forms which are not accepted because of their mixed-race nature (to which the colour in the title refers), following Croce’s advice about the otherness which divides children, women and savages from literature, Macoggi’s narrative strongly evokes a specific use of a personal discourse by children, women and black people, which clearly contrasts with the Western white male canon.

In fact Macoggi’s latest novel presents a sequence of frustrating and humiliating events making it impossible for the adolescent protagonist, having come from a colony, to be accepted in a proper family. The racist hostility shown towards the ‘Bolognese foreigner’ in the 1970s foresees the modern reaction to the issue of immigration, revealing Italy’s complete inability to open up to those who are perceived as different due to their skin colour. In recounting a personal story, the memoir proves to be a flexible narrative tool which allows History with a capital H to be told through the protagonist’s everyday life. The surprising reconstruction of the enthusiastic revolutionary years, unable, however, to address the foreign protagonist’s desperate need for equality, also contributes to taking Macoggi’s work towards the so-called writing back, an alternative analysis by an eccentric subject who is able to read and focus on different aspects of a big change. This is reinforced by the elaborate use of language, meant to be an essential tool in the process of successful integration, leaving no room for exoticism. Narrative structure is used to render the hard look of those in search of their roots whilst trying to lead a normal private life, evoking a now-distant tragedy, reflecting in life a text that is capable of giving substance to a new season in Italian literature.

In this context, the novel Timira, Romanzo meticcio stands out, showing how the different literary tendencies in texts written in Italian by native and non-native speakers converge, tendencies which should be taken into account in the wider debate about the need for New Italian Epics[37], foreshadowing narrative texts, totally different from those influenced by the so-called reality television style, labelled by Daniele Giglioli as lifeless, therefore Senza trauma (Without trauma)[38]. Romanzo meticcio is the provocative definition chosen ‘by an Italian balladeer with a Chinese name, together with an 85 year-old Italian-Somali actress and a Somali man with four university degrees and dual citizenship’ for their novel Timira[39], aimed at helping readers to understand what an intercultural approach means, and therefore reshaping the hybrid character of the first Italian migrant writers’ work, published in 1990.

The polyphonic narrative structure of the novel involuntarily risks betraying the intention of having voices speaking together, and not on the narrator’s behalf, who finds herself confined in a subordinate position. The narrator, whose name does not appear among the authors, but only in the form of her nickname in the title, and is therefore an ‘object’ in a story told by others, uses the typical narrative strategy of the memoir, which presents characteristics and aims that are totally different from those found in the logic of the Western novel. What clearly emerges here is the voice of female marginalization, worsened by racial discrimination within a society of constructed whiteness, in which the mechanisms are so deeply rooted in the Italian national consciousness that they characterized not only the Italian colonial experience under Fascism, but can also be identified in the deeply racist Northern League propaganda. That macro history, filtered through common and fragmentary private events offers a direct recognition of the ‘testimonio’: a specific term referring to an autobiographical genre which was invented in Central America and is here used as evidence of on-going globalization which has had a profound effect on recent texts in terms of form and structure, and cannot be considered a mere strategy aimed at meeting the publishing industry’s requirements[40]. The story responds to the needs of the real storyteller, who relies on the western intellectual’s translation skills, in collaboration with her daughter. The presence of three authors, as in Salwa Salem’s account[41], suggests more complex situations than the ones described in some texts using a double focalization that mainly refers to internally split place and culture.By slowly putting together the pieces, the author creates a portrait of a unique character, Isabella Marincola, who reflects on the episodes, incidents and traumas that have marked her existence, the enthusiasm and ugliness woven into the fabric of almost one hundred years of national history.

Her unexpected fictional life is based on certain polarities, primarily represented by physical needs. The model and actress finds herself dealing with sexual instincts, hunger, thirst, illness, ageing as well as with significant historical events and the terrible consequences of war.

The Italian-Somali woman, target of persistent colonial considerations, reveals the on-going complexity of her blackness, the colour line in the motherland. Even the brief appearance of Giorgio, a brave partisan and the protagonist’s brother, barely contributes in deepening the representation of a one-sided story and the traditional resistance rhetoric. This, as an evocation of the foundation of the reborn Italian democracy, appears to be fragile in its inability to conserve the places of that epic, like basic principles of equality when equal rights and full citizenship are denied to the children of colonies because of racial discrimination. Throughout the novel the protagonist, who is both Italian and a foreigner, tries to settle down and to find the house she has always dreamt of, but she is forced to find temporary shelter, living out in the open, an unstable and uncertain existence which foreshadows the situation of illegal immigrants.

Through the protagonist’s tragic experiences and Italy’s inhospitality, the novel presents a broad concept of post-colonialism, which up till now has only been used when referring to African countries. Timira lives the condition of otherness within a perfectly Western culture and mentality. She is, in fact, foreign to the oral traditions and the related female genealogies: her love and passion for books is instead connected to the idea of a nuclear family, in stark contrast with her mother and African relatives, as well as with her Italian parents. This does not mean wearing a white mask, but rather indicating the protagonist’s stubbornness to be open to dialogue and cultural exchanges, relying on the power of the word to recompose the difficult, but not impossible, coexistence of two different worlds.

Here Marincola, who we can define as a second generation writer, as usual, uses a first person children’s narrative perspective to laterally narrate the fragmented mixed-race identity. It is from here that her lucid and courageous ability to analyse and explain what happens around her and the experiences she undergoes derives. She also tries to pour out her anxiety of not having a fixed location, which is also exasperated by the absence of her brother, by arguing with her son. Reviews and debates about the novel relegated the character of Antar Mohammed, who represents a perfect portrait of a Somali man with all the shortcomings of two ethnic identities, and who cannot be considered only an ‘exemplum’ of a third generation character, as secondary to this amazing mother figure. Antar Mohammed, moving in the background, allows and forces his mother to make necessary choices, thanks to a clever game where lies, shrewdness and fantasy inspire fortune and create unforeseen opportunities and unexpected possibilities, creating a fixed horizon in the celebrated third space for those who are always perceived as foreigners.

The radical otherness of this very Italian ‘foreigner’ is confirmed by the final image of her corpse, when death puts an end to an inexhaustible but never aggressive liveliness, which is always aimed at affirming her personal values regarding the principles of equality protected from real and metaphorical death threats, triggered by wars and bureaucratic deafness. In describing adaptation, change, commitment, ideals and ever shifting aspirations, the story recounts Marincola’s restless life and it presents racial mixing as a topic of debate and cultural exchange.

Therefore, if by post-colonial gaze we mean a new research perspective that stimulates the understanding of these huge transformations in Italian society, including internal migration about which we only have a few literary texts, surely Gabriella Kuruvilla’s interesting work can be included under this umbrella[42]. Published by Laterza, in her book series ‘Contromano’, Kuruvilla successfully deals with urban literature, developing a coherent and recognizable writing style describing the metropolis of Milan, the ideal place to observe change as well as to get a clear picture of different migration flow to Italy.

Avoiding an external narrative point of view, Kuruvilla focuses on describing different characters who, having immigrated to Milan from different countries, run into each other within the chaotic city where the young protagonist is faced with the impossible task of finding a point of reference among different and ever changing ethnic groups, languages, customs, cuisines and trends. The uneasiness and multifaceted disorientation figuratively represented by globalized menus and cocktails is underlined by the use of a language that combines and mixes different communicative systems which do not always comply with the Italian language. In order to survive in a highly stratified society, they use a slang influenced by English and television programs, with a ‘foreign’ nuance, where traces of Milanese dialect are tied together with inflections and words from the immigrants’ own ethnic languages.  Among these immigrants there are also people from Southern Italy who play a tragic role in this scenario, being forced into illegal housing whilst trying to survive in ‘Expo city’, a place that seems to prevent those who perceive themselves as foreign, and especially young people, from settling down. The collective representation reveals a certain maturity from a supranational point of view, and underlines a close similarity between this text and the development of a post-migratory and post-ethnic perspective of some European literary texts such as the urban fiction written by young Beur intellectuals in which cities are seen as ideal places to be analysed both from the inside and outside[43].

Compared to its neighbouring countries, which have completely different calibre and duration of migrant writings, Italy’s lack of significant production strategies and well-structured poetic statements made by any one author or group of authors, who still seem unable to go beyond a self-referential structure and an ‘interview’ dimension, is apparent.

A journalistic influence in the work of a lot of writers, who after the cancellation of the Nuovi Italiani column in the weekly magazine Internazionale joined the A.L.M.A. blog led by the Alza La Mano Adesso collective, has not helped in overcoming often confused and offhand analyses. In particular the A.L.M.A blog has ended up as a kind of niche, a ghetto in which authors can escape the gaze of critics and academics and criticism from the outside in general.

On the other hand, the authors involved consider the blog which, as is the norm with this medium, proposes short essays, thoughts and reflections on current events, to be a real starting point for free literature and a further opportunity to state the ideal that the author refuses ‘to be called migrant writer. He would prefer to be called an Italian writer, or if the reader doesn’t like his style, which according to what M. Fernandez taught us is the same as having an ugly bottom, perhaps Sedentary Pen-pusher’[44].


Fulvio Pezzarossa teaches Sociology of Literature at the University of Bologna. He has written essays and monographs and given presentations dedicated to the critical analysis of literary works written in Italian by migrant authors. For several years, he has been the chair of the jury of Eks & Tra, a competition dedicated to unpublished works written by immigrants. Since 2007 he has directed the first Italian laboratory of intercultural creative writing and in 2008 he founded Scritture migranti (, the first peer-reviewed academic journal that deals exclusively with this subject. He has been the editor of Scritture migranti ever since. He also promoted and coordinated the International Conference Leggere il testo e il mondo. Vent’anni di scritture della migrazione in Italia, held in Bologna in October 2010. The conference proceedings were published in 2011 by CLUEB (Bologna).

* See D. Brogi, ‘Smettiamo di chiamarla “letteratura della migrazione?”’, Nazione Indiana (23 Mar 2011), (

[1] ‘Vent’anni ancora. Un colloquio tra Fulvio Pezzarossa e Tahar Lamri’, Crocevia. Scritture straniere, migranti e di viaggio 15/16 (2011).

[2] “Leggere il testo e il mondo”. Vent’anni di scritture della migrazione in Italia, eds. F. Pezzarossa and I. Rossini, (Bologna: CLUEB, 2011).

[3] In my overview I will mainly refer to prose narrative, without taking into account children’s books, which are thoroughly analysed by Lorenzo Luatti, and poems, which are often only published online.

[4] Amongst established writers, only L. Wanda has published Se tutte le donne (Siena: Barbera, 2012). The success of translations from Italian of some Italian migrant writers’ works (for example that of Caldas Brito into Portuguese and of Amara Lakhous into Japanese after his successful exploits in the US publishing market), which so far have not been catalogued and studied, in part compensates this weakening. With regards to this we can also note the fact that the book series Kumacreola stopped publishing Italian language writers and, instead, published the Italian translation of the Egyptian author A. El Maati Shareb’s novel, La melodia del piano (Isernia: C. Iannone, 2012).

[5] W. Tamimi, Il caffè delle donne (Milan: Mondadori, 2012).

[6] We can here mention the initiative Lingua madre. Racconti di donne straniere, which is repeated every year, and the Rome based initiative Incontrarsi. Racconti di donne migranti e native, eds. C. Ali Farah, M.R. Cutrufelli, I. Peretti, I. Scego, S. Vulterini (Rome: Ediesse, 2012).

[7] S. Abdel Qader, Porto il velo, adoro i Queen. Nuove italiane crescono (Milan: Sonzogno, 2008).

[8] S. Hamadi, Voci di anime (Genoa: Marietti 1820, 2011).

[9] The controversial results of these choices, which often seem to be imposed, still do not allow for the creation of real ‘liberation strategies’ as indicated by U. Fracassa in Patrie lettere. Per una critica della letteratura postcoloniale e migrante in Italia (Rome: Giulio Perrone, 2012), pp. 67-76.

[10] N. Konadui Yiadom and A. Pasqualetto, La regina che faceva la colf. Venuta in Italia dall’Africa nera scelse di tornare al suo villaggio (Venice: Marsilio, 2012). On caretakers from Romania see I. B. Comna, Il villaggio senza madri (Milan: Rediviva, 2012).

[11] M. R. Toe, Il mio nome è Regina (Milan: Sonzogno, 2010).

[12] Il racconto di Nadia by A. Ismail (Rome: Albatros Il Filo, 2010) presents a similar narrative pattern, although with a more intimate tone. The fragile weak fictional structure of the novel covers the author’s voice that ties together her self-awareness with the Mozambican War of Independence and also describes the tension between Catholicism and Islam within her family.

[13] Y. Sagnet, Ama il tuo sogno. Vita e rivolta nella terra dell’oro rosso (Rome: Fandango, 2012).

[14] P. A. Micheletti and S. Moussa Ba, La promessa di Hamadi (Novara: De Agostini, 1991). The book has been misinterpreted, since it was confined in school collections; but the same choice, in contrast with the declaimed ambitions towards a post-migratory literature, has been made by I. Scego, who reprinted the memoir La mia casa è dove sono (Milan: Rizzoli, 2010) with an ample didactic apparatus (Turin: Loescher, 2012).

[15] N. Lilin, Storie sulla pelle (Turin: Einaudi, 2012). Gabriele Salvatores’ film adaptation of Lilin’s first book can be probably seen as a fairly predictable outcome, considering the logic of multimedia literature. Educazione siberiana (Turin: Einaudi, 2009).

[16] H. Ziarati, Quasi due, (Turin: Einaudi, 2012). The wartime adventures of two young Iranian men, corrupted by Khomeini’s ideology. A detailed analysis of the texts by B. Zamaradi, a renowned figure in the Italian journalism establishment, has not been provided yet. I demoni del deserto (Rome: Nottetempo, 2011).

[17] N. Mimica, Vivere fa solletico (Turin: Einaudi, 2011). It is not possible to determine whether the book was written directly in Italian or was started in Italian, finished and published in Croatian and then rewritten in Italian by the author herself.

[18] O. Vorpsi, Fuorimondo (Turin: Einaudi, 2012).

[19] In her review of Vorpsi’s text, M. Sammarco fiercely dismantles the devices of ‘an anti-Italian who always seems to be over-the-top’. M. Sammarco in Lankelot (1 Oct 2012), (

[20] G. Hajdari, Nûr. Eresia e besa (Rome: Ensemble, 2012); Id., I canti del nizàm (Nardò (LE): Besa, 2012).

[21] I. Kurti, Tra le due rive (Patti (ME): Kimerik, 2011).

[22] I. Kurti, Un autunno senza ritorno. Racconti (Patti (ME): Kimerik, 2012).

[23] A.J. Latiffi, Lo yàtaghan (Nardò (LE): Controluce, 2008).

[24] Y. Polovina, Intrigo sull’Adriatico (Nardò (LE): Besa, 2012). The Bulgarian G. Radeva structures labyrinth or rebus-like texts creating complex interwoven crime and espionage fiction. G. Radeva, Amalgrammer (Catania: Associazione Akkuaria, 2012).

[25] A. Ibrahimi, Non c’è dolcezza (Turin: Einaudi, 2012). The quotation, from the inside cover, must be considered a tile in the mosaic of the new writings’ claimed linguistic hybridizations; for other interesting examples of graphic and linguistic innovations see below.

[26] E. Dones, Piccola guerra perfetta (Turin: Einaudi, 2012). In the book’s preface, Roberto Saviano writes: ‘This is not a book about the war, this is the war’.

[27] H. Janeczeck, Le rondini di Montecassino (Parma: Guanda, 2010). With regards to this, see the in-depth analysis offered by D. Meneghelli, ‘Il diritto all’opacità. Autori, contesti, generi nella letteratura italiana della migrazione’, Scritture Migranti 5 (2011), pp. 57-80. See also S. Portman, Racconto d’estate italiana (Rome:, 2012). The book Luoghi incerti (Isernia: C. Iannone, 2010) by S. Golish also deserves some consideration; it offers a profound reflection on the German past, still in need of a narrative ‘compensation’. The choice of this theme in Janeczeck’s debut and in Helga Schneider’s work leads one to think that a cultural geography based on stereotypes, which ends up associating Germany with Nazism, the Balkans with war and Africa with folklore and rituals seems to be particularly effective in the publishing market.

[28] Jadrejcic, after winning the prized Calvino literary award for unpublished narrative, struggled to get published and eventually published I prigionieri di Guerra with Eks&Tra. Equally Katerina e la sua guerra by Serdakowski (Rome: Robin, 2009) came out to little fanfare.

[29] A. Spanjolli, La sposa rapita (Nardò (LE): Besa, 2012). In La sposa ripudiata, Tawfik also recounts a love affair and its difficulties in describing cultural differences. In particular he tells the story of Karima, a young Moroccan trapped among the contradictions between Islam and the West, contradictions exacerbated by threats of religious terrorism based on the old native ‘brigatismo. The author here reiterates the choice of a formal structure of rhymed prose with intervals of poetry that highlights the oriental undertones of his account.

[30] A. Spanjolli, I nipoti di Scanderbeg (Nardò (LE): Besa, 2012).

[31] La nave dolce, a 2012 movie directed by D. Vicari is based on this account.

[32] D. Levani, Il famoso magico qukapik (Bologna: I Libri di Emil, 2011).

[33] I. Hoxhvogli, Introduzione al mondo. Notizie minime sopra gli spacciatori di felicità (Cagliari: Scepsi&Mattana, 2011).

[34] A. R. Terrusi, Ritorno al Paese delle Aquile (Nardò (LE): Besa, 2012).

[35] See Coloniale e Postcoloniale nella letteratura italiana degli anni 2000, eds. S. Contarini. G. Pais, L. Quaquarelli, Narrativa 33/34 (2011-12).

[36] C. Macoggi, Kkeywa (Carrù (CN): Sensibili alle foglie, 2011), and La nemesi della rossa (Carrù (CN): Sensibili alle foglie, 2012).

[37] Wu Ming, New Italian Epic. Letteratura, sguardo obliquo, ritorno al futuro (Turin: Einaudi, 2009).

[38] D. Giglioli, Senza trauma. Scrittura dell’estremo e narrativa del nuovo millennio (Macerata: Quodlibet, 2011).

[39] Wu Ming 2-A. Mohamed, Timira. Romanzo meticcio (Turin: Einaudi, 2012).

[40] The similarities in choices, genres, characters, scenes, and topoi, that the work of a lot of different authors from different backgrounds have produced at different times (e.g.  similarities to the texts of Italians who had emigrated to the U.S in the early twentieth century) amounts to a non-defined grassroots globalization [see R. Morace, Letteratura-mondo italiana (Pisa: ETS, 2012)].

[41] S. Salem, Con il vento nei capelli. Vita di una donna palestinese, ed. L. Maritano (Florence: Giunti, 1993).

[42] G. Kuruvilla, Milano, fin qui tutto bene (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2012).

[43] I. Vitali, ‘De la littérature beur à la littérature urbaine: le regard des intrangers’, Nouvelles Ètudes Francophones 24.1 (2009), pp. 172-83.

[44] As posted by Malih on 24 Apr 2012. Regarding the ‘Migrant Writing’ label debate see also Saturno, the supplement of Il fatto quotidiano and S. Vlasta, ‘«Faccio letteratura e basta!». Letteratura della migrazione in Austria tra disapprovazione e riconoscimento’ Scritture Migranti 5 (2011), pp. 227-52.

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This entry was posted on July 29, 2013 by in Academia.
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