Simona Vinci was born on 6 March 1970 in Milan, and now lives in Budrio in the province of Bologna. She studied Contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Bologna. Early in her career she was part of a group of young writers who published the online magazine, Incubatoio 16, and is one of the authors commonly associated with the giovani cannibali movement.

Simona Vinci, 2008
​ Simona Vinci at the Biblioteca Poletti, Modena in 2008 (Photo: Utente: Dread83 via Wikimedia Commons CC BY -SA 3.0) ​

Vinci made her literary debut in 1997 with Dei bambini non si sa niente. The novel was widely praised by both the public and the critics, winning the Elsa Morante award in 2000 for best debut work, and being published in translation in twelve countries. With its graphic depictions of child sexuality, pornography, and violence, it also provoked a great deal of controversy. Centring on intergenerational conflict and providing a bleak dystopia of family life, it was to prefigure some of the themes that she would return to in later works.   

In 1999, Vinci published a collection of short stories, In tutti i sensi come l'amore, which was also widely translated. The thirteen stories deal with obsession, questioning the definition of love at the end of the 20th century. Written in a dark, detached style, Vinci’s stories observe rather than judge. Her next major work, Come prima delle madri (2003) – its title cites Morante – is set during fascism and offers a child’s perspective on violence committed by adults.

She later moved ever further from her ‘pulp’ roots, with works of investigative fiction that explore the degradation of the environment and the damaging consequences of progress.

Vinci’s most recent production explores several genres. Her 2016 novel La prima verità, which won the Premio Campiello, mixes fiction with historical fact. Through the characters, the reader discovers the history of one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Europe, an institution on the island of Leros (Greece) that was at the centre of an international scandal at the end of the 1980s for the inhuman conditions in which its patients were kept. Psychiatry remains the focus of Vinci’s next work Parla, mia paura (2017), a memoir that combines a personal account of her own experience of depression with a generational portrait.

In her latest work, Vinci has continued her investigation of the memoir and gothic traditions. In Mai più sola nel bosco. Dentro le fiabe dei Fratelli Grimm, published in 2019 and winner of the Premio Rapallo in 2021, Vinci recounts childhood memories triggered by her rereading, as an adult, of the fairy tales she used to love as a little girl. Lastly, L’altra casa (2021) is a gothic story built around a mysterious old mansion which used to belong to a famous opera singer, Giuseppina Pasqua.

Simona Vinci has also written books for children, including Corri Matilda (1998), Matildacity (1998), and Scheletrina Cicciabomba (2012).

Compiled by Alex Standen. Updated by Francesca Pierini (Chittagong)



Dei bambini non si sa niente (Turin: Einaudi, 1997)

Come prima delle madri (Turin: Einaudi, 2003)

Brother and sister (Turin: Einaudi, 2004)

Stanza 411 (Turin: Einaudi, 2006)

Rovina (Milan: Edizioni Ambiente, 2007; Turin: Einaudi, 2019)

Strada Provinciale Tre (Turin: Einaudi, 2007)

La prima verità (Turin: Einaudi, 2016)

Parla, mia paura (Turin: Einaudi, 2017)

Mai più sola nel bosco. Dentro le fiabe dei Fratelli Grimm (Venice: Marsilio, 2019)

L'altra casa (Turin: Einaudi, 2021)

Short Stories

In tutti i sensi come l'amore (Turin: Einaudi, 1999)

‘La piú piccola cosa’ in Simona Vinci et al.: Ragazze che dovresti conoscere.The Sex Anthology (Turin: Einaudi, 2004, pp. 3-26)

‘Suino pesante padano’ in Il gusto del delitto ed. by Sandro Toni (Milan: Leonardo Publishing, 2008, pages unavailable)

‘Universo liquido’ in Alzando da terra il sole. Parole per l'Emilia ed. by Beppe Cottafavi (Milan: Mondadori Strade blu, 2012, pages unavailable)

Theatre Plays

Porta della Rocca Ostile. Directed by Andrea Adriatico, Scalinata del Pincio, Bologna, 15 May 2016 [unpublished]

Other Works

Nel bianco (Milan: Rizzoli, 2008) [Vinci's travels in Iceland and Greenland]

Un’altra solitudine (I Corti di Carta del Corriere della Sera, 2008). Also published in Roberto Saviano et al.: Sei fuori posto. Storie italiane (Turin: Einaudi, 2010, pages unavailable ) [autobiography-reflection-essay]

[ed. with Laura Zambrini]: Partire è breve, arrivare è lungo. Racconti dall'altra parte del mare (Rome: Agra Editrice, 2016) [five short stories of female migration]

Children’s Literature

Corri Matilda (Trieste: EL, 1998)

Matildacity (Rome: Adnkronos Libri, 1998)

Scheletrina Cicciabomba (Florence: Salani, 2012)

Translations into Foreign Languages


De la canalla no se’n sap res [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Pau Vidal Gavilán] (Barcelona: Anagrama, 1999)


O djeci ne znamo ništa [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Nevia Raos] (Zagreb: Mirakul, 2004)


A Game We Play [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Minna Proctor] (London: Chatto & Windus, 1999)

In Every Sense Like Love: Stories [Translation of In tutti i sensi come l’amore by Minna Proctor] (London: Chatto & Windus, 2001)

‘Another Kind of Solitude’ in Roberto Saviano et al.: Outsiders: Six Italian Stories [Translation of ‘Un’altra solitudine’ by Chenxin Jiang] (London: MacLehose Press, 2013, pages unavailable )

What We Don’t Know About Children [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Minna Proctor] (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020)


Où sont les enfants? [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Jean-Marie Laclavetine] (Paris: Gallimard, 2000; Montreal: La Magnétothèque, 2010, audiobook)

Cours, Matilda! [Translation of Corri Matilda by Noémie Trapletti] (Paris: Hachette, 1999; Paris: Syros jeunesse, 2002)

Dans tous les sens comme l’amour [Translation of In tutti i sensi come l’amore by Arlette Lauterbach] (Paris: Gallimard, 2003)

Comme avant les mères [Translation of Come prima delle madri by Arlette Lauterbach] (Paris: Gallimard, 2005)

Chambre 411 [Translation of Stanza 411 by Vincent Raynaud] (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2007)


Von den Kindern weiss man nichts [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Petra Kaiser and Peter Klöss) (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1998)


Szégyentelenek [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Garamvölgyi Katalin] (Budapest: Ulpius-ház, 2001)


Otona wa shiranai [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Noriko Izumi Hayakawa Shobo] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Publishing, 2001)


De los niños nada se sabe [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Ana Becciú and Ana María Moix] (Barcelona: Anagrama, 1999)


Om barnen vet man ingenting [Translation of Dei bambini non si sa niente by Helena Monti] (Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag, 2001)


Cannamela, Danila: ‘A Fairy-Tale Noir: Rewriting Fairy Tales into Feminist Narratives of Exposure’ (Quaderni d’Italianistica, 39.2, 2018, pp. 85-110)

Cardia, Cristina: ‘Tra mura reali e confini immaginari: l’isola di Leros nella poetica di Simona Vinci’ (Medea. Rivista di studi interculturali, 6.1, 2020)

Castagnino, Angelo: ‘Fotografie fantastiche: su La prima verità di Simona Vinci e Quello che l’acqua nasconde di Alessandro Perissinotto’ (Arabeschi, 13, 2019, pp. 57-68)

Jansen, Monica: ‘Il mondo salvato dai ragazzini: Un’ottica infantile sulla guerra e sulla violenza in Come prima delle madri di Simona Vinci’ in Images littéraires de la société contemporaine ed. and introd. by Alain Sarrabayrouse (Grenoble: Université Stendhal, 2005, pp. 9-21)

—: ‘“Noi siamo i luoghi che abitiamo”: la lotta tra vita e cemento nella narrativa di Simona Vinci’ in La rappresentazione del paesaggio nella letteratura e nel cinema dell’Italia contemporanea ed. by Paolo Chirumbolo and Luca Pocci (New York & London: Edwin Mellen Press, 2013, pp. 106-121)

Kornacka, Barbara: ‘Annullamento della maternità nella narrativa di Simona Vinci, Isabella Santacroce e Melania G. Mazzucco’ in Femminismo e femminismi nella letteratura italiania dall’Ottocento al XXI secolo ed. by Sandra Parmegiani and Michela Prevedello (Florence: Società Editrice Fiorentina, 2019, pp. 121-137)

Lucamante, Stefania [ed.]: Italian Pulp Fiction: The New Narrative of the Giovani Cannibali Writers (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2001)

—: ‘Come prima delle madri: Un thriller edipico dai toni “noir”?’ (Narrativa, 26, 2004, pp. 81-96)

—: ‘Come prima delle madri: Simona Vinci’s Treatment of Morante’s Smagamento’ in A Multitude of Women: The Challenges of the Contemporary Italian Novel (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008, pp. 60-79)

—: ‘Society, Simulacra, and Love: Simona Vinci’s Stanza 411’ in Righteous Anger in Contemporary Italian Literary and Cinematic Narratives (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020, pp. 204-228)

Marchais, Nathalie: ‘Bambine ragazze e donne nella narrativa di Simona Vinci’ (Narrativa, 30, 2008, pp. 141-150)

Pierini, Francesca: ‘Narrative as Mould, Narrative as Modulation: Marie Cardinal, Simona Vinci, and Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Narratives of Illness and Healing’ (Comparative American Studies: An International Journal, 18.2, 2021, pp. 260-273)

Ponzio, Julia: ‘Violenza, corpo e scrittura nell’opera letteraria di Simona Vinci’ (Post-Filosofie, 12, 2019, pp. 221-232)

Seger, Monica: ‘Women in Nature, Women in Culture: Ecofeminism and Simona Vinci’s Agosto nero’ (Italica, 87.2, 2010, pp. 242-252)

—: ‘Simona Vinci: Provincial Dwellings, Natural Beings’ in Landscapes in Between: Environmental Change in Modern Italian Literature and Film (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015, pp. 94-121)

Tabanelli, Roberta: ‘Il post-umano (femmineo) di Simona Vinci’ (Annali d'Italianistica, 26, 2008, pp. 379-388)

Talamo, Liliana: ‘La tragedia del corpo nella contemporaneità: Simona Vinci, In tutti i sensi come l’amore’ (Levia Gravia, 11, 2009, pp. 189-204)

Interviews/in the Media

Interviews (Print)

Cecchini, Chiara: ‘La depressione è ancora un tabù, la scrittrice Simona Vinci: “Serve una riforma nazionale”’ (Today. Cronaca, 28 October 2017) available online at

Del Sambro, Antonia: ‘Intervista a Simona Vinci’ (Contorni di Noir, 17 January 2022) available online at 

Milani, Noemi: ‘Intervista a Simona Vinci, che mette a nudo le paure che “mangiano l’anima”’ (Il, 1 October 2017) available online at 

Video Interviews    

Battaglia, Filippo Maria: ‘Ogni storia parte da un luogo. La casa? Una protezione ma anche una prigione’ (Incipit. Rubrica Libri, Sky TG 24, 2 February 2022, 11.51mins) available online at 

Santerini, Giulia: ‘Crisi di panico, Simona Vinci: “In un libro vi spiego perché non ho più paura”’ (La Repubblica, 14 September 2017, 5.05mins) available at