Simonetta Agnello Hornby

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Simonetta Agnello Hornby (2012)

Simonetta Agnello Hornby is an Italian novelist and food writer.[1][2] Her novels are international bestsellers, translated in more than twenty languages.[3]


Born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1945, Simonetta Agnello Hornby has spent most of her adult life in England where she worked as a solicitor for a community legal aid firm specialized in domestic violence that she co-founded in 1979. She has been lecturing for many years, and was a part-time judge at the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal for eight years.[4][5]

Her debut novel La Mennulara (The Almond Picker) was published in Italy in 2002 by Feltrinelli, and was awarded the Forte Village Literary Prize, The Stresa Prize for Fiction, and the "Alassio 100 Libri - An Author for Europe" Prize in 2003[6]. Translated into more than ten languages, it became an international bestseller.[7]

In the following decade, Simonetta Agnello Hornby wrote six more novels: La zia Marchesa (The Marchesa), Boccamurata, Vento Scomposto, La Monaca (The Nun, winner of the Italian Pen Prize), and Il veleno dell'Oleandro. She has also published memoirs (Via XX settembre, La mia Londra), a collection of short stories (Il male che si deve raccontare), books of recipes and etiquette Un filo d'olio, La cucina del buon gusto). Her last book, Il pranzo di Mosè, was published in Italy in 2014.[8] She lives in London.

She was awarded the Order of the Star of Italy in the rank of Grand Officer by the President of Italy on 2 June 2016[9].

She married Martin Hornby. They have two sons, George and Nicholas.[10]

Works translated into English[edit]


  • The Almond Picker. Penguin Books Ltd. 2006. ISBN 9780141019093.
  • The Marchesa. Penguin Books Ltd. 2007. ISBN 9780141023700.
  • The Nun. Europa Editions UK. 2012. ISBN 9781609459109.


  1. ^ "Simonetta Agnello Hornby" at Europa Editions.
  2. ^ Interview Archived 2013-08-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Biography Archived 2016-01-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Andrew and Suzanne Edwards, "Interview with Simonetta Agnello Hornby, Author of La Monaca", 12 November 2012.
  5. ^ Biography Archived 2016-01-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "ALASSIO | Cultura | Premi Letterari". (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  7. ^ La mia Londra Archived 2016-01-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Agnello Hornby, Simonetta", Treccani Encyclopedia.
  9. ^ "Aperitivo d'Autore, Simonetta Agnello Hornby a Crispiano - Corriere di Taranto". Corriere di Taranto (in Italian). 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  10. ^ Vetta, Sylvia (9 March 2009). "The Pagoda of Dreams". The Oxford Times.