The Author

Dacia Maraini was born in Florence. Her mother, Topazia Alliata di Salaparuta, was Sicilian, and her father an Anglo-Florentine ethnologist, Fosco Maraini.


In 1938, the family moved to Japan, where her father was engaged in a study of the Ainu, an ethnic group living on Hokkaido but threatened with extinction. Between 1943 and 1945, the writer suffered the harsh reality of a concentration camp, since she refused to join Mussolini’s Republic of Salò, which was allied with the Japanese Empire. Returning to Italy after the end of the War, Maraini lived first in Sicily, later moving to Rome where she lives and works to this day.


A precocious and eclectically talented writer, at the age of twenty-one, together with a number of her contemporaries, she co-founded a literary review under the title «Tempo di letteratura», and began to write short stories for a number of magazines including «Paragone», «Nuovi argomenti» and «Il mondo».


In 1962, she published her first novel La vacanza, which was followed by L’età del malessere (1963, Prix Formentor) and A memoria (1967).

In 1968, she published a collection of short stories entitled Mio Marito, and in 1970 a theatrical collection entitled Il ricatto a teatro e altre commedie.

In 1972 she published a new novel, Memorie di una ladra, which was later made into a film, “Teresa la ladra”, directed by Carlo di Palma and featuring Monica Vitti.

In 1973, together with Lù Leone, Francesca Pansa, Maricla Boggio and other writers, Maraini founded “Il Teatro La Maddalena”, which was managed and directed entirely by women.
Maraini published Donna in guerra in 1975, and soon afterwards another successful play, Maria Stuarda (“Mary Stuart”), which was translated and staged in twenty-two different countries.

In 1978, the company staged Dialogo di una prostituta con il suo cliente, which attracted wide international attention.

In 1980 she co-wrote Storia di Piera with Piera degli Esposti; director Marco Ferreri later made a film version starring Marcello Mastroianni, Hanna Schygulla and Isabelle Huppert.

In 1984, she published her novel Il treno per Helsinki, followed in 1985 by Isolina (Fregene Prize), in 1986 by Il bambino Alberto and in 1987 La bionda, la bruna e l’asino. Her novel La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa was published in 1990, and not only enjoyed huge success with both the critics and the public but also earned her a number of important awards, including the prestigious Super Campiello Prize. Director Roberto Faenza used the novel for his film “Marianna Ucrìa”, while Maraini herself adapted the work for the stage, where it was directed by Lamberto Puggelli for the Stabile di Catania Resident Theatre Group.

1991 saw the publication of a collection of verses, Viaggiando con passo di volpe (Prizes: Mediterraneo; Città di Penne) and her stage play Veronica, meretrice e scrittora, which was followed in 1993 by her novels Bagheria (Prizes: Rapallo-Carige; Scanno; Joppolo) and Cercando Emma, and in 1994 by Voci (Prizes: Vitaliano Brancati – Zafferana Etnea; City of Padua; Flaiano International Prize for fiction).

In 1996, Maraini published a collection of poems under the title Crudeltà all’aria aperta. In the same year, together with writers Alberto Moravia and Enzo Siciliano, Maraini promoted “Il Teatro del Porcospino”, which staged only new works by Italian writers from Gadda to Parise, from Moravia to Wilcock, from Siciliano to Tornabuoni.

In 1997, Maraini wrote a stage play entitled Diario di una cameriera, freely adapted from Mirabeau’s “Le journal d’une femme de chamber”, which was later staged by the Teatro Stabile dell’Umbria and directed by Luca Ronconi.
The major social issues, the status of women and the problems of the young, which have always been at the heart of her literary works, are once more the focus of her latest production: Un clandestino a bordo (1996) and her collection of short stories, Buio (1999), which won her the Premio Strega.