Born in Sardinia in 1972, Michela Murgia was a versatile writer who experimented with different genres since the beginning of her career. Most of her writing shows a recurrent interest in women's issues. Her first work, Il mondo deve sapere (2006), a tragicomic account of a young woman caught in the pitfalls of casual work, was turned into a play with the same title and subsequently inspired the successful film by Paolo Virzì, Tutta la vita davanti (2008). In 2008 Murgia published a guide to her native island, Viaggio in Sardegna. Her 2009-novel Accabadora received public acclaim and earned her the prestigious Campiello Prize in 2010, the Molinello Award for First Fiction, the Mondello International Literary Prize and other awards. The novel has been translated into French, German, Catalan and English.
As a writer publicly engaged in the struggle against female objectification and women's exclusion from power, culture and politics in Italian society, in 2011 Murgia tackled most of these topics in a non-fictional text, Ave Mary. This essay investigates how, over the last 20 centuries, Catholic culture has systematically belittled the role of women in society by offering them an unachievable female model in the figure of the Virgin Mary, whose celestial perfection creates a sense of frustration and lack of self-esteem in every woman attempting to aspire to it.
In 2012 Murgia published the short novel L'Incontro and contributed to Presente, a book written in collaboration with Giorgio Vasta, Andrea Bajani and Paolo Nori that describes the year 2011. With Loredana Lipperini, Murgia tackled the tragic topic of violence against women in contemporary Italian Society in their book ‘L'ho uccisa perché l'amavo’. Falso! (2013).
Some of her short stories have been published in multi-authored anthologies, such as ‘Altre madri’ in Questo terribile intricato mondo (2008), ‘Il posto è la notte’ in Sono come tu mi vuoi (Laterza), ‘Alla pari’ in Lavoro da morire (Einaudi ET), ‘Spadoneri’ in Contos (Fandango), ‘A pezzi’ in Cartas de logu (CUEC), ‘Calo di pressione’ in Granta Italia I (Rizzoli), ‘Hanif’ in Nyx: Racconti della Notte (Arkadia).
Murgia was an honorary member of the ‘Coordinamento delle Teologhe Italiane’ and of the ‘Società Italiana delle Letterate’. She wrote a blog (www.michelamurgia.com) as well as contributing to a wide variety of magazines and newspapers.
Michela Murgia died of cancer on 10 August 2023 at the age of 51.
Compiled by Aureliana Di Rollo
Novels and Short Stories
Il mondo deve sapere: Romanzo tragicomico di una telefonista precaria (Milan: ISBN Edizioni, 2006)
‘A pezzi’ in Francesco Abate et al., Cartas de logu: Scrittori sardi allo specchio ed by Giulio Angioni (Cagliari: CUEC Editrice, 2007, pp. 169-172)
‘Altre madri’ in Eraldo Affinati et al., Questo terribile intricato mondo: Racconti politici (Turin: Einaudi,2008, pp. 205-209)
Accabadora (Turin: Einaudi, 2009)
‘Il posto è la notte’ in Sono come tu mi vuoi : Storie di lavori ed. by Carola Susani (Bari: Laterza, 2009, pp. 80-84)
‘Alla pari’ in Tullio Avoledo et al., Lavoro da morire: Racconti di un'Italia sfruttata. (Turin: Einaudi, 2009, pp. 79-87)
‘Hanif’in Francesco Abate et al., Nyx: Racconti della Notte (Cagliari: Arkadia, 2010, pp. 111-119)
‘Calo di pressione’ in Granta Italia I:Lavoro ed. by Paolo Zanonini (Milan: Rizzoli, 2011, pp. 235-245)
L'Incontro (Turin: Einaudi, 2012)
‘L’eredità’ in Francesco Abate et al., Sei per la Sardegna (Turin: Einaudi, 2014)
Viaggio in Sardegna : Undici percorsi nell'isola che non si vede (Turin: Einaudi, 2008) [Guide to Sardinia]
Ave Mary (Turin: Einaudi, 2011) [Essay]
Presente (with Andrea Bajani, Paolo Nori and Giorgio Vasta) (Turin: Einaudi, 2012, pp. 30-44, 107-125, 201-217) [Diary]
Accabadora [Translation of Accabadora by Mercè Ubach] (Labutxaca, 2012)
Accabadora [Translation of Accabadora by Sylvester Mazzarella] (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2012)
Accabadora [Translation of Accabadora by Nathalie Bauer] (Paris: Seuil, 2011)
Accabadora [Translation of Accabadora by Julika Brandestini] (DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch, 2011)
Fortini, Laura: ‘Le eredità deleddiane e Michela Murgia’ in Isolitudine: Scrittrici e scrittori della Sardegna by Laura Fortini and Paola Pittali (Pavona/Rome: Iacobelli, 2010, pp. 119-145)
Interviews/in the Media
Piccone, Marilia: ‘Stradanove incontra l’autrice dell’emozionante romanzo “Accabadora”’ (Stradanove, Assessorato alle Politiche Giovanili del Comune di Modena, 21 August 2012 [originally entitled 'Accabadora, Michela Murgia. Un aiuto per morire? and dated 29 May 2009]) available online at http://www.stradanove.net/interviste/personaggi/michela-murgia