Authors of Modern Rome

From Robert Graves to Dan Brown, Rome has inspired literature from around the world; what follows is a selection of Rome's homegrown authors.

Niccolò Ammaniti

Roman-born Niccolò Ammaniti came to international attention in 2003, with the release of the film I'm Not Scared, based on his novel Io Non Ho Paura. The story of a young boy in a small town in the South of Italy who stumbles across a terrible secret caught attention across the globe, and the novel was published by Random House in the USA and Canongate in the UK. The success of I'm not Scared means that we should see more of Ammaniti's novels translated into English, starting with I'll Steal You Away, which is due for publication in the USA and UK in the summer of 2006.

Alberto Moravia

Born in Rome in 1907, Alberto Moravia is one of the best-known Roman authors. And Rome played an important part in his fiction; many of Moravia's novels are set in the city where he was born, and where he died.

As a child, Moravia contracted a tubercular infection of the leg bones. Although he recovered, for a time he was restricted to a sanatorium and for the rest of his life he would walk with a limp. (In his introduction to the NYRB edition of Moravia's novel Boredom, William Weaver talks about the author's regular limping walks around Rome, which he undertook reluctantly on the advice of his doctor.) Following the publication in 1941 of La Mascherata, in which he had parodied Mussolini's government, Moravia was forced into hiding for the remainder of the Second World War.

Moravia's novels sometimes explore his left-wing politics and often feature cynical and disillusioned young men. His best-known novels are Gli Indifferenti (The Indifferent Ones, La Ciociara (Two Women) and La Noia (Boredom or The Empty Canvas). He published an autobiography in 1990, the year of his death.