Ferrante Fever

“Ferrante Fever” in cinemas across Italy 2, 3 and 4 October 2017… but in Sicily, only in Palermo, too far for me to go. I loved Neapolitan novels but I’m not sure I’d have wanted to go and watch Giacomo Durzi’s movie about the obsession with the writer’s identity… but I’d have liked to have … Continue reading

The Cyclops

I was lucky to see Il Ciclope at the Greek amphitheatre in Tindari, Euripides’ satirical parody of the Polyphemus episode in the Odyssey. This version, directed by Angelo Campolo, with only the suspended eyeball as scenery, managed to evoke empathy for the cyclops. At the end, to the satyrs’ delirious chant “Nobody has killed the … Continue reading

The Promise

“The Promise”, a film set during the Armenian genocide, is set for UK release today. Although it’s not garnering the best reviews (defined by the Guardian as a”soapy but well-intentioned, extravagantly -mounted epic”) because of its focus on a love triangle, it has caused plenty of controversy among critics in Turkey, where responsibility for the … Continue reading

Bones of Contention

Andrea Weiss’s Bones of Contention has just been presented at the Berlinale, a documentary about the repression of the LGTB community under Franco’s dictatorship. Thousands of victims still lie in the unmarked graves that scar Spain’s countryside, the remains of poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, among them. My first novel, Water Will Find its … Continue reading

Décamper

“My Flight” has been included on Décamper (Editions la Découverte, 24/11/2016), a cd/book for refugees from Lampedusa to Calais and beyond. Décamper is a collective space for reflection and creation which questions the contexts and objectives of public authorities and recent European migration policies, giving voice to artists, journalists and refugees themselves. “My Flight” is … Continue reading

The first women’s strike in Europe: the jasmine-pickers of Milazzo

They rose at midnight and took to the fields, barefoot. At night, because the sun turned the petals yellow. Children, forbidden but necessary, entered the fields hidden between their mothers’ skirts. Infants were tucked, drowsy with the scent, in wicker baskets; older daughters plucked the white flowers with nimble fingers, taught by their mothers. Ten … Continue reading

The Sicilian Language

The Sicilian Language

Just like Sicilian heritage sites and architecture, the Sicilian language displays the imprint of its many dominations. Being the largest island in the Mediterranean, most Mediterranean peoples stopped by: Phoenicians to the ancient Greeks, Romans to the Saracens, Normans, French, Aragonese and Spanish. These days, locals use Sicilian mostly to tell jokes or express anger. … Continue reading

Giufà

Giufà

When I mention that I’m writing a book set in Sicily, some people recommend Sicilian books or writers to read. Giuseppe Pitrè, the best known writer/collector of Sicilian folktales, often comes up. One of the most famous characters in his writings is Giufà, a character of Sicilian folklore, a kind of “village fool” whose anecdotes … Continue reading

Il carretto siciliano

Il carretto siciliano

Sicilian carts turn up in the most unexpected places. This one is in the castle in Milazzo. They are a work of art. The sides and base depict scenes from Sicilian folklore and history in bright reds and yellows, the colours of the Sicilian flag. Apparently they were first crafted in the late 1700s when … Continue reading

Montalbano

Montalbano

No, not the Inspector! Montalbano Elicona: Secret gardens, ancient streets, old doors and the megalithic stones of Argimusco near Montalbano, now ranked among Italy’s most beautiful Borgos. Montalbano has a role in my next book which is set in Sicily, a family saga which takes place on the streets of another Sicilian Borgo – the … Continue reading