Alain Elkann

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Alain Elkann
Alain Elkann.jpg
Alain Elkann
Born (1950-03-23) March 23, 1950 (age 68)
New York City, New York
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Period 1990–2000
Genre fiction, historical, sociological
Spouse Margherita Agnelli
Rosy Greco
Children Lapo Elkann
John Elkann
Ginevra Elkann

Alain Elkann (born March 23, 1950) is an American novelist, intellectual, and journalist. Currently, Elkann is the conductor of cultural programs on Italian television. A recurring theme in his books is the history of the Jews in Italy, their centrality to Italian history,[1] and the relation between the Jewish faith and other religions. He is a writer for La Règle du Jeu, Nuovi Argomenti, "A" and Shalom magazines.

Life and career[edit]

Elkann was born in New York City,[2] to a wealthy and influential family. His Italian Jewish mother, Carla Ovazza, is from the influential Turinese Ovazza banking family (who had been early financers of Benito Mussolini), while his father, Jean-Paul Elkann, was a French Jewish industrialist, the Chairman of Dior and the President of the Israelite Central Consistory of France, responsible for appointing the Chief-Rabbis of France. The family returned to Italy soon after his birth. He was a collaborator of important Italian writers such as Alberto Moravia and Indro Montanelli. He wrote novels, essays and articles, among which are a book he co-wrote with Italian Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff (former religious leader in Rome) called How to be a Jew and other works and a book of conversation with him called The Messiah and the Jews (Il Messia e gli ebrei). He has also published a book with Milan archbishop Carlo Maria Martini, as well as a book about Islam with Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. Elkann argues that all Jews should develop a strong connection to Israel.[3]

Since 2004 he has been the president of the Egyptian Museum of Turin.

Since 2007 Elkann has been the president of Fondazione CittàItalia. He is currently president of the Alliance française of Turin, president of Mecenate 90 (Rome), president of the scientific committee of Palazzo Te (Mantua), president of the FIAC of New York (Italian Foundation for Art and Culture), vice president of the Fondazione Rosselli, board member of the IULM University of Milan (where he teaches literature and arts), board member of the Museo Mega (Gallarate), member of the jury of Premio internazionale Mondello Palermo and of Premio Roma, and image consultant for the municipality of Milan.

He was counselor to the Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani for five years, and on May 16, 2008, he was appointed by the Italian government Adviser for Cultural Events and Foreign Relations to the Italian Minister Sandro Bondi. He received the America Award of the Italy-USA Foundation in 2010. He was awarded Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in December 2009 and he received the Medaille de Vermeil award from the Académie Française in November 2010. Since 2016 he was appointed president of the Scientific Committee of the Italy-USA Foundation.

He is a journalist at La Stampa, the daily newspaper of Turin, and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

Personal life[edit]

In 1975, Elkann married Margherita Agnelli, daughter of the deceased president of FIAT Gianni Agnelli, with whom he had three children, two (Lapo Elkann and John Elkann) were involved in their grandfather's company, with Lapo now in fashion, his daughter (Ginevra Elkann) now in the movie industry. His children were baptized and raised Catholic.[4] After divorcing his wife in 1981, Elkann remarried with Rosy Greco in 2002;[5] she was also Roman Catholic.[4] They divorced in 2009.[5] He has French and Italian citizenship.[2]


Institutional roles[edit]

  • President of the Scientific Committee of Fondazione Italia Usa
  • President of Amici dei Giardini, Giardini Botanici Hanbury (La Mortola, Ventimiglia, Imperia)
  • Member of the Board of Scientific Committee of MEIS - Museo Nazionale dell'Ebraismo Italiano e della Shoah di Ferrara
  • Member of the Board of the Italian Academy at Columbia University of New York City
  • President of FIAC Foundation of New York (Foundation for Italian Art and Culture)


  • Il tuffo (1981)
  • Stella Oceanis (1983)
  • Piazza Carignano (1985) (in English, 1986)
  • Le due babe (raccolta di racconti, 1986)
  • Montagne russe (1988). - Misguided Lives (in English, 1989)
  • Vita di Moravia (with Alberto Moravia, 1990, new ed. 2000) - Life of Moravia (in English, 2001)
  • Rotocalco (novel, 1991)
  • Delitto a Capri (novel, 1992)
  • Vendita all'asta (short stories, 1993)
  • Cambiare il cuore (with Carlo Maria Martini, 1993, new revised ed. 1997)
  • Essere ebreo (with Elio Toaff, 1994, new ed. 2001)
  • Emma, intervista a una bambina di undici anni (1995)
  • I soldi devono restare in famiglia (1996)
  • Diario verosimile (1997)
  • Il padre francese (1999) - The French Father (in English, 2011)
  • Le mura di Gerusalemme (2000)
  • Interviste 1989-2000 (2000)
  • John Star (2001)
  • Essere musulmano (with B. Hassan, 2001) - To be a Muslim: Islam, Peace, and Democracy (in English, 2003)
  • Il Messia e gli ebrei (2002)
  • Boulevard de Sébastopol e altri racconti (2002)
  • Una lunga estate (2003)
  • Mitzvà (2004)
  • Giorno dopo Giorno (2005)
  • L'Equivoco (2008) - L'imprevue (in French, 2010)
  • Envy (in English, 2008)
  • Nonna Carla (2010)
  • Hotel Locarno (2011)


  1. ^ "Italian Jewish Authors and their 'Lessico Familiare'", Benedetta Grasso (June 25, 2011),
  2. ^ a b "Noted Italian writer appeals for Israel", Ruth Ellen Gruber (June 13, 2010), Jewish Telegraph Agency
  3. ^ "All Jews should become Israeli citizens", Alain Elkann (June 10, 2010), La Regle du Jeu (Archived on August 10, 2010)
  4. ^ a b "Jewish and Italian: Celebrity writer celebrates his heritage", Victor L. Simpson (December 4, 2004), Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
  5. ^ a b Corriere dell Sera: "Rosi Greco" da Claudia Casiraghi 28 Aprile 2014

External links[edit]