The 2014 Italian Session will take place on Tuesday, July 8 at 6pm at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York – 686 Park Avenue (between 68th and 69th Streets).

The discussion will be moderated by Professor Francesca Parmeggiani (Fordham University)

To RSVP for this event, please send us an email at

The Book: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend - Book CoverIn this novel, the first installment of a trilogy, Elena Ferrante tells the story of two little girls who become friends and grow up in the same neighborhood in Naples. But there is more to this coming-of-age story, infused with violence and an unresolved search for love and knowledge. Join us in exploring Elena Ferrante’s unique representation of family relationships and friendship, private and public spaces in the city, and the changing social and economic landscape of modern Italy.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The Author:

Elena Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With My Brilliant Friend she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction. Though one of Italy’s most acclaimed contemporary authors, Elena Ferrante has successfully shunned public attention and kept her whereabouts and her true identity concealed.

The Reviews:

The Boston Globe: “Everyone should read anything with [Elena Ferrante's] name on it.”

Vogue: “One of the more nuanced portraits of feminine friendship in recent memory.”

The Barnes and Noble Review: “This gorgeous novel should bring a host of new readers to one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors.”

The San Francisco Chronicle:Ferrante, beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein [...] writes with a ferocious, intimate urgency.”

Shelf Awareness:Ferrante draws an indelible picture.”

Booklist: “A compelling and moving coming-of-age story.”

Publishers Weekly: “More than a conventional up-from-poverty tale.”

The Moderator:

Francesca Parmeggiani is Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Fordham University in New York City. She graduated from the University of Bologna (Italy) and received her Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her teaching and research focus on contemporary Italy, women’s writing, and cinema. She is the author of the monograph Lo spessore della letteratura (2007), on the fictional adaptations of Scriptures by Italian writers in the 1960s and 1970s, and co-editor of Forme, volti e linguaggi della violenza nella cultura italiana (2012), a collection of essays on the representation of violence in Italian culture. Her articles have appeared in several academic journals, in the U.S. and Europe.

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