4 November 2010 The laureate of Premio Campiello – outstanding writer of Italy, Dacia Maraini and the Atlas of Women

At the invitation of the Conrad Festival and the Italian Institute in Krakow, the outstanding Italian writer came to Wawel: Dacia Maraini. The long-time partner of Alberto Moravia, author of almost 30 plays and stories participated yesterday in a meeting titled “Atlas of women” hosted by Beata Stasińska. “My grandmother – Polish in origin – just like Conrad, left the country and started writing travel books in English” she recalled during the meeting at Klub Pod Jaszczurami. “Father was an anthropologist. I started reading and writing very early, because it was my passion. And passion is great joy in creating what we truly love” confessed the author of “The Long Life of Marianna Ucria”.

The biography of the unusually warm writer would be enough for many screenplays of a fascinating film story: the daughter of the Sicilian princess Topazia Alliata di Salaparuta and Florentine ethnologist Fosco Marainiegow moved together with her family to Japan in escaping fascists. In the years 1943-1947 they were imprisoned in the concentration camp there. After the war, they returned to Italy and resided in Bagheria. Soon afterwards, her parents separated and her father moved to Rome, where Dacia joined him at the age of eighteen. Her husband was a well-known Milan painter Lucio Pozzi, and in the years 1962-1983 her partner was the famous Italia writer, Alberto Moravia.

In 1973 she was the cofounder of Teatro della Maddalena. She is the laureate of prestigious awards Formentor Prize for the book L'età del malessere (1963), for Premio Fregene za Isolinę (1985), Premio Campiello for The Long Life of Marianna Ucria (1990) and Premio Strega for Buio.

She is most know to the Polish readers as the author of “The Long Life of Marianna Ucria” (1990; Polish publishing 1996, PIW). This unusual novel, which became a great published success, is the story of the author's great-grandmother, a beautiful mute, whose strange paths of life are to some extent a symbol of fate of the Italian woman. Intelligent and sensitive, Marianna is a pawn in her family’s hands, usurping herself the right to decide for her fortune. Many years must pass and much suffering must she experience before she decides to direct her own life independently. The action of the novel is in Sicily, where the author spent many years and which history and raw beauty are strictly connected with Marianna's history.

Fans of Maraini’s books also know the published in Poland “This letter is me” – a touching story of love expressed in the form of letters written by an adult woman to a young friend in Flavia. The story of the emotional relationship of the letters' author with the girl's uncle, a famous violinist, is only one of the plots that appear in this book. Those sensitive and honest letters are not only a confidant of emotional memories, but also an attempt at a mature woman looking at her own life through the eyes of a child.
The writer, speaking in a beautiful, warm voice, tells about women – painters, about the freedom of creating, searching for freedom in writing, about life full of unexpected coincidences, about love for books and people. This mutual literary-painting fascination connected Dacia Maraini with Ewa Kuryluk very quickly. Both writers spent an evening talking about art, books and Krakow. Today, the writer will also visit the Japanese collection at the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, and at 6 p.m. she will take part in the promotion of her book “La Briganta” at the Italian Institute in Krakow (49 Grodzka Street).