Simona Vinci was born on 6 March 1970 in Milan. She studied and now lives in Bologna and, early in her career, was part of a group of young writers who published the online magazine, Incubatoio 16. She is one of the authors most commonly associated with the Giovani Cannibali movement.

Vinci made her literary debut in 1997 with Dei bambini non si sa niente (A Game We Play). The novel was widely praised by both the public and critically, winning the Elsa Morante award in 2000 for the best debut work, and being translated and published in twelve countries. With its graphic depictions of child sexuality, pornography and violence, it also provoked a great deal of controversy. Centring on inter-generational 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.   

Simona Vinci (2008, Utente Dread83 (Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)
Simona Vinci (2008, Utente Dread83 (Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

In 1999, Vinci published a collection of short stories, In tutti i sensi come l'amore (In Every Sense Like Love), 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), whose title, cites Morante, is set during fascism and offers a child’s perspective on violence committed by adults.

She has also written works for children, including Corri Matilda (1998) and Matildacity (1998). In recent works, she appears to be moving ever further from her ‘pulp’ roots, with works of investigative fiction that explore the degradation of the environment and the damaging consequences of progress.

Compiled by Alex Standen


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

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

Come prima delle madri (Turin: Einaudi, 2003)

Brother and sister (Turin: Einaudi, 2004)

Stanza 411 (Turin: Einaudi, 2006)

Rovina (Edizioni Ambiente, 2007)

Strada Provinciale Tre (Turin: Einaudi, 2007)

Nel bianco (Milan: Rizzoli, 2008)

Children’s Literature

Corri Matilda (Trieste: EL, 1998)

Matildacity (Rome: Adnkronos Libri, 1998)

Scheletrina Cicciabomba (Firenze: Salani, 2012)

Translations into Foreign Languages


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)


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)

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)

—: A Multitude of Women: The Challenges of the Contemporary Italian Novel (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008).

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

Seger, Monica: ‘Women in Nature, Women in Culture: Ecofeminism and Simona Vinci's Angelo nero’ (Italica, 87, 2010, pp. 242-252)

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)