23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Giulia Caminito

Giulia Caminito was born in Rome in 1988 and grew up in Anguillara Sabazia on Lago di Bracciano. She studied political philosophy and made her debut in 2016 with the novel »La grande A« [tr: The Big A], which is loosely based on Caminito’s own family history and takes place during the Italian colonial period.

The titular A stands for Africa on the one hand, and on the other for Adi, an Italian adventurer who opened a bar in the port of the Eritrean city of Assab. Her daughter Giada, the novel’s narrator, was left behind with relatives in Milan and does not arrive in Africa until she is a teenager.

Rich in metaphors, lively and without any exoticism, Caminito lets her main character describe this world, which is still very foreign to her at first. Giada falls in love, marries, has a child, then separates again. At the end of the colonial period, her return to the homeland becomes inevitable. The novel has won several awards in Italy.

This was followed by the collection of short stories »Guardavamo gli altri ballare il tango« [2017; tr: We Watched Others Dance The Tango] and the fairy tale »La ballerina e il marinaio« [2018; tr: The Dancer and the Sailor].

She published the novel »Un giorno verrà« [tr: A Day Will Come] in 2019. Two unequal brothers are at the center of the story: Lupo is a staunch anarchist, Nicola more timid and hesitant. The novel weaves together the dramatic story of Lupo and Nicola’s family and their village with world events at the beginning of the 20th century. The »SZ« stated that »With her figurative language and lyrical comparisons, Giulia Caminito sets her own accent.«

Caminito’s third novel »L’acqua del lago non è mai dolce« [2021; tr: The Water of the Lake is Never Sweet] tells of a family in precarious circumstances. Set in the early 1990s, Gaia lives with her parents and siblings in a twenty-square-meter room on the outskirts of Rome. The energetic mother manages to find social housing even further out. Convinced that education is the only way to a better future for her daughter, she sends Gaia to a good school in Rome and makes sure she keeps studying. But despite her success at school – she even eventually makes her way to university – Gaia remains an outsider. And even her hopes for social advancement are ultimately not fulfilled. Over time, her vulnerability turns to anger – with devastating consequences.

The novel was shortlisted for the Italian literary prize Premio Strega in 2021, won the alternative Premio Strega Off and the prestigious Premio Campiello prize, and became a bestseller in Italy. It has been translated into over twenty languages.

In addition to her work as a writer, Giulia Caminito also works as an editor and proofreader. She lives in Rome.

Date: 2022