23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Valeria Parrella
© Hartwig Klappert

Valeria Parrella

Valeria Parrella was born in 1974 in Torre del Greco. After studying languages at the University of Naples and going on to obtain a PhD in linguistics from that same institution, she specialized in sign language interpreting until difficult labor market conditions resulted in her becoming unemployed. She then started working in a large book shop and as an actor.

She had always written prose and, when she decided to submit some to the publishing house minimum fax, she was signed immediately. Her volume of stories entitled »Mosca più balena« (tr. Fly plus whale) appeared in 2003 and was awarded the Premio Campiello for best debut. The main characters in these stories are mostly perceptive, self-aware young women into whose life situations Parrella masterfully places herself while also creating a lively image of Naples and its mixture of dialect, dirt, noise and Camorra. She tells the stories at a fast pace, in short sentences and concise dialogues alternating between dialect and standard language. An example of this is the story which lends its title to the book, about a well-heeled Signora whose history as a street urchin is still discernible in the way she speaks. Parrella’s second volume »Per grazia ricevuta« (2005; tr. For favors received) also focuses on unsentimental women and their issues in an Italian city. Parrella’s first novel »Lo spazio bianco« (2008; tr. White space) was autobiographically inspired. It tells the story of a woman whose baby was born prematurely and the mother’s changing perspectives as her baby fights for survival. She views her surroundings differently, as well as the city in which she lives, and it is torn between vitality and resignation. The story was made into a film by Francesca Comencini in 2009. In Parrella’s latest volume of prose »Troppa importanza all’amore« (2015; tr. Much ado about love) she tells unsentimental and humorous love stories of people who find one another and lose one another through grand shams, false love and true lust, through everyday acts of kindness and mystical longing.

Parrella’s short prose works have also appeared in the anthologies »Pensa alla salute« (2003; tr. Think of your health), »Bloody Europe« (2004), »La qualità dell’aria« (2004; tr. The quality of the air) and in magazines such as »Nuovi argomenti«, »Origine« and »Cccattone«. The piece »Ciao maschio« (2009; tr. Hello male) was adapted as a play and Parrella has also written several pieces specifically for the stage, including the monologue »Il verdetto« (2007; tr. The verdict) and the play »Tre terzi« (2009; tr. Three thirds). Her books have been translated into German, Swedish, French and Spanish. Since January 2008, Valeria Parrella has been involved in artistic direction at the Teatro Mercadante in Naples, where she lives.


Die Signora, die ich werden wollte


München, 2005

[Ü: Constanze Neumann]

Der erfundene Freund


Berlin, 2006

[Ü: Suse Vetterlein]

Zeit des Wartens


München, 2009

[Ü: Anja Nattefort]

Liebe wird überschätzt


München, 2017

[Ü: Annette Kopetzki]

L’enciclopedia della donna


Turin, 2017