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Dacia Maraini (born November 13, 1936 in Fiesole) is an Italian writer. She is the daughter of Sicilian Princess Topazia Alliata di Salaparuta, an artist and art dealer, and of Fosco Maraini, a Florentine ethnologist and mountaineer of mixed Ticinese, English and Polish background who wrote in particular on Tibet and Japan. Maraini's work focuses on women’s issues, and she has written numerous plays and novels. She has won awards for her work, including the Formentor Prize for L'età del malessere (1963); the Premio Fregene for Isolina (1985); the Premio Campiello and Book of the Year Award for La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa (1990); and the Premio Strega for Buio (1999).
When she was a child, her family moved to Japan in 1938 to escape Fascism. They were interned in a Japanese concentration camp in Nagoya from 1943 to 1946 for refusing to recognize the Japanese military government. After the war, the family returned to Italy and lived in Sicily with her mother’s family in the town of Bagheria, province of Palermo.
Not long after, her parents separated and her father moved to Rome where, some years later, at the age of eighteen, Maraini joined him. She was educated at L'Istituto Statale della Ss. Annunziata, a prestigious and privileged boarding school in Florence.
In 1966, Maraini, Moravia and Enzo Siciliano founded the del Porcospino (Porcupine) theatrical company which had as its mission the production of new Italian plays. They included her own La famiglia normale, Moravia’s L’intervista, Siciliano’s Tazza, and works by Carlo Emilio Gadda, Goffredo Parise, Juan Rodolfo Wilcock and Tornabuoni.
In 1973, she helped to found the Teatro della Maddalena which was run by women only.
Maraini is a prolific and well-known writer who continues to produce works today.
- La vacanza (1963; translated by Stuart Hood as The holiday : a novel, 1966)
- L'età del malessere (1963, winner of Formentor Prize; translated by Frances Frenaye as The age of discontent - also published as The Age of Malaise - 1963)
- Memorie di una ladra (1973; translated by Nina Rootes as Memoirs of a female thief, 1973)
- Short Play (in Wicked Women Revue 1973, Presented by Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective, USA)
- Donne mie (1974, poetry)
- Mio marito (1974)
- Donna in guerra (1975)
- Maria Stuarda (1975, theater)
- Dialogo di una prostituta col suo cliente (1978, theatre) translated into English as Dialogue Between a Prostitute and her Client
- Mangiami pure (1978, poetry; translated by Genni Donati Gunn as Devour me too, ISBN 0-919349-89-7)
- Stravaganza (1978)
- Isolina (1985, winner of Premio Fregene; translated by Siân Williams as Isolina, 1993, ISBN 0-7206-0897-X)
- La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa (1990, awarded Premio Campiello, book of the year award in Italy; translated by Dick Kitto & Elspeth Spottiswood as The Silent Duchess, 1992 - ISBN 1-55082-053-2)
- Viaggiando con passo di volpe (1991; winner of Mediterraneo Prize, 1991, and Città delle penne, 1992)
- Veronica, meretrice e scrittora (1991)
- Bagheria (1993; translated by Dick Kitto and Elspeth Spottiswood as Bagheria, 1994 - ISBN 0-7206-0926-7)
- Voci (1994; awards include: Napoli 1995, Sibilla Aleramo, 1995)
- Dolce per sé (1997)
- Se amando troppo (1998)
- Buio (1999; winner of Premio Strega, 1999)
- Fare teatro (1966-2000) (2000, collection of plays)
- Colomba (2004)
- Il treno dell’ultima notte (2008; translated by Silveser Mazarella as 'Train to Budapest, 2010 - ISBN 978-1906413576)
Sources and further reading
- Dacia Maraini’s official Web Page (Italian)
- Abbreviated bio-bibliography (English)
- Dacia Maraini biografia (Italian), at Italia Libri
- Dacia Maraini interviews Giorgio Antonucci (Italian)
- Two articles from RAI’s Italica site: