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Erri De Luca

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Erri De Luca

Erri De Luca (Naples 1950) is an Italian novelist, translator and poet. He has been recognized by critic Giorgio De Rienzo of Corriere della Sera as "the writer of the decade".[1]


Erri De Luca's original first name was Henry, an hommage to his grandmother, who had American nationality, but defined by him as an "accident". He eventually decided "to change" few letters by Italianizing his name[2] (Henry is pronounced "Erri" in Italian).

Upon completing high school in 1968 Erri De Luca joined the radical left-wing movement Lotta Continua. After the organization's disbandment he worked as a blue collar at the Fiat factory in Turin and at the Catania airport. He also was a truck driver and a mason, working in job sites in Italy, France and Africa. He rode relief convoys in Yugoslavia during the war between 1993 and 1999.

He is self-taught in several languages including Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish.

He appeared in a cameo role (of a mechanic) in the film L'isola, by Costanza Quadriglio.

De Luca is a passionate mountain climber. A reclusive character, he currently lives in the countryside of Rome.

Erri De Luca's first debut as screenwriter and leading actor in the short film Di là del vetro (Beyond the Glass), presented at The Venice Film Festival 2011. Italy, World Premiere. "A night-time conversation between a man and his mother and a trip down memory lane through the phantoms of life. Erri De Luca opens the door to his house, transporting us into the universe of the past."

"The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars" is his latest work as a screenwriter and actor. The short is directed by Edoardo Ponti. This "little gem" has been in the short list for the Academy Awards 2013, and won the Tribeca Film Festival 2013.


Although he never stopped writing since he was 20, his first book is published in 1989, Non ora, non qui (Not now, not here). Many more books followed, best sellers in Italy, France and Israel, his work being translated and published in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Holland, USA, Brazil, Poland, Norway, Danmark, Romania, Greece, Lithuania, and more. He has himself translated several books of the Bible into Italian like Exodus, Jonah, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, and explored various aspects of Judaism, as a non-believer.

In France, he received the France Culture Prize in 1994 for Aceto, arcobaleno, the Laure Bataillon Award in 2002 for Tre cavalli and, also in 2002, the Fémina Étranger for Montedidio, translated in English as God's Mountain. In 2010 he was given the German international literary Petrarca-Preis. He has been a member of the jury at the Cannes Festival in 2003.

Erri De Luca writes regularly for various newspapers (La Repubblica, Il Corriere della Sera Il Mattino, Avvenire), and other magazines.


  • I consider bombardments the definition of an act of terrorism. So, to express myself against such acts, perpetrated by NATO and my own country, I crossed over to the other side. There I experienced the air-raid sirens that my mother told me about first-hand, when Naples was bombed by the Allied Forces during the Second World War.
  • Invincible is not the one who always wins, but who, defeated and defeated, never stops standing up to fight again


  • Non ora, non qui, Feltrinelli, 1989
  • Una nuvola come tappeto, Feltrinelli, 1991
  • Aceto, Arco baleno, Feltrinelli, 1992
  • I colpi dei sensi, Fahrenheit 451, Milano, 1993
  • Prove di risposta, Edizioni Nuova Cultura, Roma, 1994
  • In alto a sinistra, Feltrinelli, 1994
  • Pianoterra, articoli, Qiqajon, Bose, Magnano, 1995
  • "Il cronista scalzo e altri scritti", Legatoria del Sud
  • Alzaia, Feltrinelli, 1997
  • Ora prima, Qiqajon, Bose, Magnano, 1997
  • Tu, mio, Feltrinelli, 1998 (Me, You, Other Press)
  • "Tufo", Dante & Descartes, 1999
  • Tre cavalli, Feltrinelli, 1999 (Three Horses, Other Press)
  • "Un papavero rosso all'occhiello senza coglierne il fiore", Interattiva, 2000
  • Montedidio, Feltrinelli, 2002 (God's Mountain, Other Press)
  • Opera sull'acqua e altre poesie (poetry), Einaudi, 2002
  • "Lettere da una citta' bruciata", Dante & Descartes, 2002
  • Nocciolo d'oliva, EMP, 2002
  • Il contrario di uno, Feltrinelli, 2003
  • "Immanifestazione", Dante & Descartes, 2003
  • "Morso di luna nuova. Racconto per voci in tre stanze", Mondadori, 2004
  • "Precipitazioni", Dante & Descartes, 2004
  • "Chisciottimista", Dante & Descartes, 2005
  • In nome della madre, Feltrinelli, 2006
  • Sulla traccia di Nives, Mondadori, 2006
  • "Napolide", Dante & Descartes, 2006
  • "Sottosopra" (with Gennaro Matino), Mondadori, 2007
  • "lettere fraterne" (with Izet Sarajilic), Dante & Descartes, 2007
  • "L'isola e' una conchiglia", La Conchiglia, 2008
  • "Almeno cinque" (with Gennaro Matino), Feltrinelli, 2008
  • "L'ospite incallito" (poetry), Einaudi, 2008
  • "Il cielo in una stalla", Infinito, 2008
  • Tentativi di scoraggiamento (a darsi alla scrittura), Dante & Descartes, 2009 (Attempts at discouragement (when taking up writing))
  • "Penultime notizie circa Ieshu/Gesu'", Messaggero, 2009
  • Il giorno prima della felicità, Feltrinelli, 2009 (The Day Before Happiness, Other Press)
  • Il peso della farfalla, Feltrinelli, 2009
  • Tu non c'eri, Dante & Descartes, 2010
  • "Rivolte inestirpabili", Forum Edizioni, 2010
  • E disse, Feltrinelli, 2011
  • "Le sante sello scandalo, La Giuntina, 2011
  • "I pesci non chiudono gli occhi", Feltrinelli, 2011
  • "Il turno di notte lo fanno le stelle", Feltrinelli, 2012 ("The Nightshift belongs to the Stars")
  • "Il torto del soldato", Feltrinelli, 2012
  • "Il Turno di Notte lo fanno le Stelle", OH!PEN/Feltrinelli, 2012
  • "La doppia Vita dei Numeri", Feltrinelli, 2012
  • "The Nighshift Belongs to the Stars", Feltrinelli 2012
  • "Ti sembra il Caso?", Feltrinelli 2013
  • "Storia di Irene", Feltrinelli 2013
  • "The Crime of a Soldier", Feltrinelli

Translations by the Author

  • "Esodo/Nomi", Feltrinelli, 1994
  • "Giona/Iona", Feltrinelli, 1995
  • "kohelet/Ecclesiaste", Feltrinelli, 1996
  • "Il libro di Ruth", Feltrinelli, 1999
  • "Salmo secondo ovvero Elogio del massimo timore", in Micromega, 2000
  • "Noah Ansheldell'altro mondo" (of Dovid Katz), translation from Yiddish, Dante & Descartes, 2002
  • "Vita di Sansone dal libro Giudici/Shoftim, Feltrinelli, 2002
  • "Vita di Noe'/Noa", Feltrinelli, 2004
  • "L'ospite di pietra. L'invito a morte di Don Giovanni. Piccola tragedia in versi", Feltrinelli, 2005
  • "Canto del popolo yiddish messo a morte (of Ytshak Katzenelson), Monadori, 2009


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