Alain Elkann

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Alain Elkann
Alain Elkann.jpg
Alain Elkann
Born (1950-03-23) March 23, 1950 (age 65)
New York
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Italian
Period 1990–2000
Genre fiction, historical, sociological
Spouse Margherita Agnelli
Rosy Greco
Children Lapo
Relatives Gianni Agnelli

Alain Elkann (born March 23, 1950) is an Italian 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, to a wealthy and influential family. His Italian Jewish mother, is from the influential Turinese Ovazza banking family (who had been early financers of Benito Mussolini), while his father was a French Jewish industrialist, the Chairman of Dior and the President of the Consistoire Central Israélite de 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 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 books 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.[2]

In 1975, Elkann married Margherita Agnelli, daughter of the deceased president of FIAT Gianni Agnelli, from whom he had three children, two now important directors in their grandfather’s company: Lapo Elkann and John Elkann (in 2010 he became chairman of Fiat); a daughter Ginevra Elkann, in the movie industry. After divorcing his wife in 1981, Elkann remarried with Rosy Greco in 2002. He is now divorced from 2009.

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, image consultant for the municipality of Milan.

He has been counselor of the Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani during 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.


  • Il tuffo (1981)
  • Stella Oceanis (1983)
  • Piazza Carignano (1985) (in English, 1986)
  • Le due babe (raccolta di racconti, 1986)
  • Montagne russe (1988). - Misguided Lives (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 (with B. Hassan, 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)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Italian Jewish Authors and their “Lessico Familiare” Benedetta Grasso (June 26, 2011),
  2. ^ All Jews should become Israeli citizens Alain Elkann, La Regle de Jeu, 10 juin 2010