Dr Simona Di Martino holds a PhD in Italian Studies from the University of Warwick, where she also is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies and a Teaching Assistant. Her research focuses on late 18th- and early 19th-century Italian poems and analyses how the reception of Dante’s work allows an interpretation of these texts as ‘Gothic’. She has published various peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on this and other topics, such as the Italian family novel and the figure of the wetnurse in Italian fiction. During her stay at the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) she will deepen her interest in female characters and authors. Specifically, she will examine how the figure of the ‘witch’ became an empowering model for young girls and how it shaped a rebellious but positive representation of ‘girlhood’ in contemporary children’s and young adults’ Italian literature. Case studies are Bianca Pitzorno’s Streghetta mia and the comic magazines W.I.T.C.H created by Elisabetta Gnone.