Good news for Ferrante fans: Elena Ferrante, the beloved Italian novelist, is back, and she’s writing again.
A year ago, an Italian journalist allegedly revealed the award-winning, bestselling author’s true identity (Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym), sparking international furor as well as fear that the reclusive novelist may never write again.
After a year of holding their breath, Ferrante fans can breathe again: According to the Italian literary newsletter Il Libraio, Ferrante is back to work, as the Guardian reported.
“I know she is writing, but at the moment I cannot say anything more,” publisher Sandro Ferri, told Il Libraio.
Mr. Ferri said there were no plans for a novel to be published in 2018, and said the new piece is separate from a screenplay Ferrante is working on for a TV series based on her beloved Neapolitan novels, which will air on HBO.
Few other details were offered, but they are welcome news for Ferrante’s readers, many of whom said they thought they may never hear from the author again.
That’s because Ferrante, who had zealously guarded her identity, has suggested in past interviews that her anonymity was a precondition to her work.
“The wish to remove oneself from all forms of social pressure or obligation. Not to feel tied down to what could become one’s public image. To concentrate exclusively and with complete freedom on writing and its strategies,” she wrote in an email interview for the Gentlewoman.
"To relinquish it would be very painful," she once told Vanity Fair.
Relinquish it she did when Italian journalist Claudio Gatti sifted through financial records and real estate transactions to cite Ferrante as “Anita Raja, a Rome-based translator whose German-born mother fled the Holocaust and later married a Neapolitan magistrate.”
The revelation generated outrage that Mr. Gatti had “thrown a stone at an artist who tried to carve some space for herself,” – as well as a renewed understanding of the importance of privacy for writers.
"Privacy is essential for writers," novelist Roxana Robinson wrote for The Washington Post. "[A] writer must be able to be alone with her work. This is not just a question of concentration; it can be a question of creation. Being alone with your work is essential to making it."
Now, like Robert Galbraith (otherwise known as J.K. Rowling), Richard Bachman (Stephen King), and others whose identity had been revealed, Elena Ferrante will write on, unmasked.