Marta Morazzoni
Marta Morazzoni (photo courtesy of Giorgio Guenzani and the author)

Marta Morazzoni is not only an author of novels, essays, and short stories, but also a theatre critic and literary translator, having translated the works of Edith Wharton, Olaf Olafsson, and Eran Kroband among others. Until recently, she also taught Italian literature in high school in Gallarate (Lombardy). 

Morazzoni was born in Milan in 1950. She graduated in cultural anthropology from the University of Milan with a thesis on the Eskimos living in Canada and Greenland. It may be assumed that her interest in Northern people triggered her preference for the white light, cool spaces, and restrained static scenery frequently visible in her books.

Her literary vocation, which Morazzoni felt just after completing her studies, initially resulted in a number of stories which she sent to the literary critic Pietro Citati in 1983. In 1986, thanks to Citati’s interest and enthusiastic appraisal, the publisher Longanesi released Morazzoni’s first collection, La ragazza col turbante. The book was a huge success, obtaining the Premio Racalmare Leonardo Sciascia in the following year and being translated into nine languages. The collection comprises five literary fantasies with well-known artists or rulers as protagonists, and explores the fate of famous works of art: we read about Mozart and Constance, Lorenzo da Ponte, the Emperor Charles V, and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. One thread connecting these texts is the brutality which prevails in the relationships between characters. Morazzoni skilfully creates an atmosphere of suspense, secrecy, and danger, together with the expectation of something that does not always happen.

La ragazza col turbante was followed by a prolific and successful decade. Morazzoni wrote four novels, three of which were awarded prestigious literary prizes. The first novel, L’invenzione della verità, published in 1988, obtained the Premio Campiello. Casa materna, which followed in 1992, won the Premio Selezione Campiello. In 1996, the next novel appeared, L’estuario. One year later, Il caso Courrier was also awarded the Premio Campiello. In 1995 her translation of Edith Wharton's The Gods Arrive was published by Corbaccio entitled Il canto delle muse.

At the turn of the century, Morazzoni briefly moved away from the past and, in 2002, published a disturbing novel, Una lezione di stile, set in modern England. However, she returned to the past and great historic figures in 2005, in a narrative set in the 18th century, Un incontro inatteso per il consigliere Goethe. This period also allowed her to test her strengths in other literary genres. In 2006, she published an artistic and literary guide to Amsterdam, La città del desiderio, Amsterdam. Here, Morazzoni, a lover of Vermeer and Flemish culture, shows the reader around the city with passion and lyricism. In 2008, she wrote 37 libri e un cane, a literary autobiography and personal guide to literature. In the same year, she published a collection of lectures on her favourite and most valued authors: Proust, Musil, Poe, and Goethe. She returned to narrative and historical figures in her last two novels, both featuring unusual, brave, and emblematic female protagonists. La nota segreta (2010) is about Paola Pietra, a young countess, unknown though reported in historical chronicles, who was forced to enter a convent: with an amazing talent for singing, this extremely strong and uncompromising woman, who is open to various forms of life, stands up against the system. Il fuoco di Jeanne (2014) tells the story from girlhood to adulthood of Jeanne D’Arc, a character modelled on Joan of Arc. Instead of approaching her protagonist as a symbol and an archetype, Morazzoni reconstructs the figure buried under the layers of myth and legend and creates a modern historical novel. 

In 2018, Marta Morazzoni was awarded the Premio Fondazione Il Campiello 2018 in recognition of her career. She was praised for having ‘always stood out for the original characteristics of a stylistically tense, guarded, and introspective writing’. The following year Il dono di Arianna was published, a collection of ten short stories which bring to life Greek mythology, in a passionate reinterpretation that reveals the ongoing power of myth to speak about universal themes. The book won the Premio Chiara (2019) and the Premio Speciale Ceppo Letteratura e Vita Leone Piccioni (2020).

Marta Morazzoni’s books entrance through delicately built emotions, perfect language, sophisticated surroundings, and masterful images. The beautiful visual quality of her prose and its intense yet ambiguous emotions confer power and originality upon her work. The author sensitively brings her readers into remote corners of time and space, places and past times that are at once known and unknown, rendering the experiences that are being recounted almost real and tangible. Morazzoni’s prose may be perfectly described by means of the oxymoron ‘invented truth’. The one variable in the evolution of this author’s writing is her style, its initial sophisticated elegance, linearity, and cool moderation being gradually replaced by sensuality and dynamism.

Compiled by Barbara Kornacka (Poznan)




L'invenzione della verità (Milan: Longanesi, 1988)

Casa materna (Milan: Longanesi, 1992)

L'estuario (Milan: Longanesi, 1996)

Il caso Courrier (Milan: Longanesi, 1997; Milan: Guanda, 2016))

Una lezione di stile (Milan: Longanesi, 2002)

La nota segreta (Milan: Longanesi, 2010)

Il fuoco di Jeanne (Milan: Guanda, 2014)

Il rovescio dell'abito (Milan: Guanda, 2022)

Short Stories

La ragazza col turbante (Milan: Longanesi, 1986; Milan: Guanda, 2018)

‘L’azzurro e il carbone’ in Anna Felder, Marta Morazzoni, and Laura Pariani, La luce del mondo. Tre scrittrici nei Grigioni (Locarno: Dadò, 2005, pp. 39-58; also published as ‘Un incontro inatteso per il consigliere Goethe’ in the collection of the same name)

Un incontro inatteso per il consigliere Goethe (Milan: Longanesi, 2005)

La casa vuota (Parma: Guanda, 2014)

'Il fuochi sulla montagna' in Il cuore nero delle donne. Otto storie di assassine ed. by Luca Crovi (Parma: Guanda, 2015)

Il dono di Arianna (Milan: Guanda, 2019)

Other Works

Lezioni svizzere: opere, authori, personaggi letterari (Milan: La Vita Felice, 2003) [essays]

‘Soggiorno a Poschiavo’ in Anna Felder, Marta Morazzoni, and Laura Pariani, La luce del mondo. Tre scrittrici nei Grigioni ( Locarno: Dadò, 2005, pp. 59-86) [diary of Morazzoni’s stay in the Swiss Canton of the Grisons]

La città del desiderioAmsterdam (Parma: Guanda, 2006) [an author’s guide to Amsterdam]

37 libri e un cane (Milan: Longanesi, 2008) [literary autobiography]

Translations into Italian by Marta Morazzoni

Il canto delle Muse [Translation of Edith Wharton’s novel The Gods Arrive] (Milan: Corbaccio, 1995)

Il viaggio di ritorno [Translation of Olaf Olafsson’s novel The Journey Home] (Milan: Corbaccio, 2001)

Piccola piuma [Translation of Eran Kroband’s novel Petite plume] (Milan: Corbaccio, 2002)

Una passeggiata nella notte [Translation of Olaf Olafsson’s novel Walking into the Night] (Milan: Corbaccio, 2003)

Una romantica avventura [Translation of Thomas Hardy’s novel The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid] (Palermo: Sellerio, 2007)

Il sonno del crepuscolo [Translation of Edith Wharton’s novel Twilight Sleep] (Milan: RBA, 2021)

Buongiorno, madame Céline [Translation of Sandra Vanbremeersch’s novel La Dame couchée] (Milan: Corbaccio, 2022)

Translations into Foreign Languages


Slučaj Courrier [Translation of Il caso Courrier by Mihaela Vekarić] (Zagreb: Znanje, 2004)


Pigen med turbanen [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Inge Lise Rasmussen Pin] (Copenhagen: April, 1988)


Het meisje met de parel [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Joost Albers en Frans Denissen] (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 1987)

De zaak Courrier [Translation of Il caso Courrier by Aafke van der Made] (Amsterdam: Serena Libri, 1997)

Stad van het Verlangen, Amsterdam [Translation of La città del desiderioAmsterdam by Els van der Pluijm] (Amsterdam: Serena Libri, 2003)

Het huis [Translation of Un incontro inatteso per il consigliere Goethe by Aafke van der Made] (Amsterdam: Serena Libri, 2005)


Girl in a Turban [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Patrick Creagh] (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988; London: Harvill, 2001)

The Invention of Truth [Translation of L’invenzione della verità by M.J. Fitzgerald] (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993)

His Mother’s House [Translation of Casa materna by Emma Rose] (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995)

The Alphonse Courrier Affair [Translation of Il caso Courrier by Emma Rose] (London: Harvill, 2000)

The Secret Note [Translation of La nota segreta by Cristina Viti] (London: MacLehose Press, 2017)


La Jeune Fille au turban [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Jean-Paul Manganaro] (Paris: POL, 1988)

Une Leçon de style [Translation of Una lezione di stile by Eva Cantavenera] (Paris: Éditions de L’Herne, 2005)

L’Affaire Alphonse Courrier [Translation of Il caso Courrier by Marguerite Pozzoli] (Arles: Actes Sud, 2008)

L’Invention de la vérité [Translation of L'invenzione della verità by Marguerite Pozzoli] (Arles: Actes Sud, 2009)

La Note secrète [Translation of La nota segreta by Marguerite Pozzoli] (Arles: Actes Sud, 2012)

Le Feu de Jeanne [Translation of Il fuoco di Jeanne by Marguerite Pozzoli] (Arles: Actes Sud, 2015)


Das Mädchen mit dem Turban [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Herbert Schlüter] (Munich: Piper, 1988).

Die Erfindung der Wahrheit [Translation of L’invenzione della verità by Hartmut Scheible] (Munich: Piper, 1991)


A turbános lány [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Tamás Ágnes and Rita Lenotti] (Budapest: Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem Tanárképző Főiskolai Kar, 2000)


‘Dziewczyna w turbanie’ [Translation of ‘La ragazza col turbante’ by Halina Kralowa] (Literatura na Świecie, 3-4, 2009, pp. 205-239)

‘Tajemna nuta’ [Translation of an excerpt of Una nota segreta by Halina Kralowa] (Nowa Dekada Krakowska, 3.5, 2014, pp. 74-82)


A Rapariga Do Turbante [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Maria Jorge Vilar de Figueiredo] (Lisbon: Editorial Presença, 1989)


‘Белая дверь’ [‘Delaya dve’] [Translation of ‘La porta bianca’, from the collection La ragazza col turbante, by Elena Molochkovskaia] (Moscow: RADUGA, 1991)

‘Девушка в тюрбане’ [‘Devushka vie turban’] [Translation of ‘La ragazza col turbante’, from the collection La ragazza col turbante, by Elena Molochkovskaia] (Moscow: RADUGA, 1991)


La joven de la perla [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Ricardo Pochtar] (Barcelona: Tusqquets Editores, 1988)

Casa materna [Translation of Casa materna by Carlos Manzano] (Barcelona: Tusquets, 1992)


Att uppfinna sanningen [Translation of L’invenzione della verità by Ingrid Börge] (Stockholm: Carlsson, 1999)

Flicka i turban: fem berättelser [Translation of La ragazza col turbante by Ingrid Börge] (Stockholm: En bok för alla, 2003)

I moderns hus [Translation of Casa materna by Ingrid Börge] (Stockholm: Carlsson, 2006)

Fallet Courrier [Translation of Il caso Courrier by Ingrid Börge] (Stockholm: Carlsson, 2011)


Brunelli, Maria: ‘Aria di casa nei racconti di Marta Morazzoni. Cinque storie che hanno per protagoniste una villa, un appartamento e una locanda’ (il, 25 November 2005)

Calcagno, Giorgio: ‘L’estuario di Marta Morazzoni’ in Vent’anni di narrativa femminile in Italia ed. by Francesco De Nicola and Pier Antonio Zannoni (Venice: Marsilio, 2005, pp. 60-61)

Castagnola, Raffaele: ‘Storie nordiche per il nuovo millennio’ in Il mito e la rappresentazione del Nord nella tradizione letteraria: Atti del convegno di Padova, 23-25 ottobre 2006 (Rome: Salerno, 2008, pp. 355-377)

Cutrufelli, Maria Rosa: Scritture, scrittrici (Milan: Longanesi, 1988, p. 23)

D'Elia, Antonio: ‘Il racconto e la Storia nell’irrequietezza della solitudine: Marta Morazzoni’ in Scrittori in corso: osservatorio sul racconto contemporaneo ed. by Lorella Anna Giuliani and Giuseppe Lo Castro (Soveria Mannelli (CZ): Rubbettino, 2012, pp. 55-68)

De Giovanni, Neria: Carta di donna: narratrici italiane del ’900 (Turin: Società Editrice Internazionale, 1996, pp. 7-8 and 14-15)

De Michelis, Cesare G.: ‘Marta Morazzoni’ in Fiori di carta. La nuova narrativa italiana degli anni Ottanta (Milan: Bompiani, 1990, pp. 153-156)

Drzewiecka, Agnieszka: ‘Między literaturą a sztuką: o pisarstwie Marty Morazzoni’ in Literatura włoska w toku (Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 2006, pp. 167-180)

Farinelli, Patrizia: ‘Il caso non c’è: il caso Courrier o la costruzione aerea della narrativa di Marta Morazzoni’ in Una veritade ascosa sotto bella menzogna. Zur italienischen Erzählliteratur der Gegenwart ed. by Hans Felten and David Nelting (Berne: Peter Lang, 2000, pp. 137-147)

Gialloreto, Andrea: ‘Musica d’inverno. La narrativa di Marta Morazzoni’ (Studi Medievali e Moderni, 16.1-2, 2012, pp. 309-340)

Golino, Enzo: ‘Marta Morazzoni: L’invenzione della verità’ in Sottotiro: 48 stroncature (Lecce: Manni, 2002, pp. 17-20)

Guacci, Rosaria: ‘Due. Coppie. Idillio e sopraffazione. Identici e contrari’ in Il pozzo segreto. Cinquanta scrittrici italiane ed. by Maria Rosa Cutrufelli, Rosaria Guacci, and Marisa Rusconi (Florence: Giunti, 1993, pp. 277-278)

Heyer-Caput, Margherita: ‘Arte e storia come “poiesis” al femminile ne L’invenzione della verità di Marta Morazzoni’ (Italian Culture, 19.1, 2001, pp. 67-84)

―: ‘Il concetto di “verità” nella narrazione “al passato” di Marta Morazzoni’ (Italica, 79.1, 2002, pp. 62-79)

Italia, Paola: A carte scoperte: come lavorano le scrittrici e gli scrittori contemporanei (Bologna: Bononia University Press, 2021) [Interviews with Italian writers, also available as ebook]

Kornacka, Barbara: ‘Sulla voce ne La nota segreta di Marta Morazzoni (Studia Romanica Posnaniensia, 45.3, 2018, pp. 83-94)

Lazzaro-Weis, Carol: From Margins to Mainstream: Feminism and Fictional Modes in Italian Women’s Writings (1968-1990) (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993, pp. 123, 138-139, 141-143, 150)

Manacorda, Giuliano: ‘Il caso Courrier di Marta Morazzoni’ in Vent’anni di narrativa femminile in Italia ed. by Francesco De Nicola and Pier Antonio Zannoni (Venice: Marsilio, 2005, pp. 65-66)

Mazza, Antonia: ‘La ragazza col turbante’ (Letture, 41.431, November 1986, pp. 807-808)

Perger, Meta Lenart: ‘Caratteristiche e funzioni degli spazi ne L’invenzione della verità di Marta Morazzoni’ in Geocritica e geopoetica nella letteratura italiana del Novecento ed. by Anastasija Gjurčinova and Irina Talevska (Skopie: Edizione della Facoltà di Filologia Blaže Koneski – Università Ss. Cirillo e Metodio di Skopje, 2018, pp. 199-204)

―: ‘Sulle tracce di Giovanna d’Arco tra mito e documento storico: l’indagine spaziale di M. Morazzoni ne Il fuoco di Jeanne’ (Ars & Humanitas, 13.2, 2019, pp. 119-131)

―: ‘La tensione tra macro e microstoria nelle narrazioni d’impronta storica di Marta Morazzoni’ (Horizonte. Neue Serie. Nuova serie, 2022, pp. 103-117) 

Pierangeli, Fabio: ‘Una “luce particolare, non so come descriverla…”’ in Città, luoghi, viaggi della letteratura contemporanea (Rome: Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2006, pp. 103-105)

Rigobello, Giuliana: ‘Marta Morazzoni ovvero la scrittura come pittura e come musica’ (Coscienza, 4, 1993, pp. 16-19)

Sanguinetti Katz, Giuliana: ‘Marta Morazzoni e la ricerca della libertà’ (Quaderni d’Italianistica, 16.2, 1995, pp. 295-307) 

Serkowska, Hanna: ‘Un’interpretazione de L’invenzione della verità di M. Morazzoni come esperienza di rilettura’ (Kwartalnik Neofilologiczny, 48.4, 2001, pp. 289-296)

—: ‘La decostruzione della storia in grande a partire dalle microstorie di Marta Morazzoni’ (Acta Philologica, 31, 2005, pp. 205-213)

Tani, Stefano: ‘Manierismo e microstoria: Morazzoni e Volpi’ in Il romanzo di ritorno. Dal romanzo medio degli anni sessanta alla giovane narrativa degli anni ottanta (Milan: Mursia, 1990, pp. 183-186)

Urgnani, Elena: ‘Il preziosismo rarefatto di Marta Morazzoni’ (NEMLA, 16, 1992, pp. 85-98)

Westphal, Bertrand: ‘Nord et Sud. Les deux mondes de Marta Morazzoni’ (Chroniques italiennes, 35.3, 1993, pp. 53-60)

Wilson, Rita: ‘Identità rivelate: le speculazioni narrative di Marta Morazzoni e Francesca Duranti’ (Studi di Italianistica nell’Africa Australe/Italian Studies in Southern Africa, 7.2, 1994, pp. 50-68)

—: ‘Seductive Specularities: Marta Morazzoni and Sandra Petrignani’ in Speculative Identities: Contemporary Italian Women's Narrative (Leeds: Northern Universities Press, 2000, pp. 141-160)

Interviews/in the Media

Briganti, Annarita: ‘Morazzoni: “I miti greci non hanno un luogo abitano la nostra testa e la nostra fantasia”’ (La Repubblica, Milano Libri, 28 July 2019) available online at

Crespi, Anna: ‘Intervista a Marta Morazzoni’ (Amici della scala, 29 January 2014) available online at

Hopkinson, Amanda: ‘From the Blackboard to the Page. Novelist Marta Morazzoni Tells Amanda Hopkinson about Teaching’s Perils’ (The Guardian, 13 October 2001) available online at

Stoppini, Alessandra: ‘Storia della Contessa Paola. Intervista a Marta Morazzoni’ (Il, 27 April 2010) 

Radio Interviews

Faller, Sabrina: ‘Domani è un altro giorno. Ospite: Marta Morazzoni’ (Domani è un altro giorno, 13 February 2015, 57.58 mins) available online at

Maspero, Rossana: ‘Rossana Maspero incontra Marta Morazzoni autrice de Il dono di Arianna’ (RSI - Radiotelevisione svizzera, 31 January 2020, 14.32 mins) available online at

Video Interviews

‘Marta Morazzoni: la scrittura come certezza’ (Eyes Upon, 14 November 2014, 8.45mins) available online at