The inspiration of Sicily

Sicily is a perfect place for lovers of historical novels, it is such an evocative place, bursting with the energy of a palpable history which seeps into everything on the island. In fact, Sicily has inspired many English authors to write beautiful fiction. The Sicilian migrant diaspora is also one of the most creative spawning…

Seeking Sicily an interview with John Keahey

Sicily’s rich history, culture and literature are filled with endless stories, and so one writer or interpreter visiting here will never come up with a definitive interpretation, each experience will remain unique. Sicily has many faces and reflections, depending on where and when you visit and who you meet, it is impossible ever to finish…

Sicily: A Literary guide for travellers

  Andrew and Suzanne Edwards are both accomplished writers and translators with a deep admiration for Sicily, their guide to the island is a detailed love letter to the history and culture of this place. Together they trace an outline of Sicily through its rich literary history creating an intriguing portrait of this ancient place.…

Trinàcria: A tale of Bourbon Sicily an interview with Anthony Di Renzo

One of the most surprising discoveries on my journey to know and understand Sicily better has been Anthony Di Renzo’s book Trinàcria (Guernica, Toronto 2013) which eloquently evokes the spirit of Sicily. Di Renzo gathers threads from Bourbon Sicily through the periods most vibrant characters and to bring their energy back to life. With the…

The poetry of Theresa Maggio

One of the most surprising finds in my journey into Sicily was the discovery of the works of American journalist Theresa Maggio. Her concise poetic prose distils the true essence of Sicily in an almost intoxicating style. Maggio's intimate memoirs are delicate little stories which distil the essence of the character of the island. From…

Conversations with Elio Vittorini and his critics

Elio Vittorini’s Conversations in Sicily has been on my reading list for a while and I was delighted to find the original english translation in the Amazon Kindle store compete with an introduction from Ernest Hemingway so I immediately snapped it up. However for some unknown reason it was never delivered and after several emails…

A journey to the Volcano with Venero Armanno

    Venero Armanno's trio of Sicilian themed novels is a significant accomplishment, written masterfully by the son of Sicilian migrants with a powerful dedication to Sicily. The volcano is a novel of emotion, passion and fire set in the shadowlands around Etna and tells us of the epic journey of Emilio Aquila. The book…

A Sicilian Summer with Brian Johnston

I’ve always been a lover of the travel writing genre, ever since my mother gave me a paperback of Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither here nor there’ which took me backpacking through Europe before I left high school. Since then I have made my way through many travel writing classics from Paul Theroux to Bruce Chatwin. Many…

Literary Islands: Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (Il gattopardo) is my favorite Sicilian novel of all time. The sumptuous world of the Prince of Salina is a precious link to Sicily’s baroque aristocracy. It also inspired one of the best international cinematic productions with the classic 1963 film adaptation directed by Luchino Visconti starring Burt Lancaster as…

Literary Islands: Federico De Roberto

Frederico De Roberto’s I Vicere’ or The Viceroy’s was another accidental discovery for me, thanks to the Italian’s flare for rich television series period drama. I fell in love with De Roberto’s characters thanks to the screen adaptation I watched a few years ago on the RAI television network in Italy (2007). I was so…

Literary Islands: Vitaliano Brancati

I stumbled upon Vitaliano Brancati quite by accident in a bookstore at Messina. I was attracted by the title of one his books, I discovered after he was quite a prolific novelist and later his most famous novel Il Bel Antonio was developed into a movie staring Marcello Mastroianni, which became a classic of Italian…

Literary Islands: Giovanni Verga

  Most language students who study Italian at university level are familiar with Giovanni Verga as his short stories in the simple realist style are a perfect introduction to Italian Literature as they are easy for first year students to follow. Verga’s short tale Cavalleria Rusticana was made into an opera libretto which together with…

10 books to read instead of visiting Sicily

I’m big on reading and the journey books can create in your life. If you can’t travel a book can give you an authentic experience without leaving your armchair. Sometimes travelling isn't always possible but this is no reason not to experience a place through its literature. Sicily has inspired many locals and foreigners with…