ERRI DE LUCA
Born in Naples in 1950, Erri De Luca is a writer, novelist, storyteller, essayist, translator, poet and performer. He has published more than 70 books, including a variety of collections of stories and poems. His grandmother was Ruby Hammond, an American woman who came to Italy at the beginning of the last century. His name, Erri, is an Italianized version of Harry, the name of his uncle.
He began to write as a child, and for twenty years worked in a range of different manual jobs. He did volunteer work in Africa, and during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia he drove for humanitarian convoys. His novel Non ora, non qui (Not here, not now) was published in Italy in 1989. Esteemed abroad as well as in Italy, especially in France and Israel, his work has been translated and published in over thirty languages. A self-taught scholar of Yiddish and ancient Hebrew, he has translated a number of texts from the Old Testament and other literary works as well as publishing various critical essays.
Among his many honors, De Luca has received the France-Culture Prize in 1994 for his novel Aceto, Arcobaleno, the Laure Bataillon Prize in 2002 for Tre Cavalli (Three Horses), and, that same year, the Femina Etranger Prize for Montedidio (published as God’s Mountain in English). In 2010 he received the prestigious Petrarca Prize in Germany. In 2014 in Strasburg he was awarded the Prize for European Literature, and, for his novel Il torto del soldato (The Crime of a Soldier), he received Spain’s Premio Leteo as well as the Prix Jean Monnet in France. He was a member of the jury at Cannes Festival in 2003.
His cinematographic debut is the short film Di là dal vetro. Presented at the Venice Festival in 2011, De Luca is the film’s author and screenwriter, and also plays a leading role, along with Isa Danieli; its director is Andrea Di Bari. De Luca is also author and screenwriter for Il turno di notte lo fanno le stelle (The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars), directed by Eduardo Ponti; this narrative short won this prize for its category at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013 and was also short-listed in this category for the Oscars in 2012. He is author and screenwriter for La musica provata, directed by Emanuele Sana, as well as the author of Alberi che camminano (Trees that Walk), in competition at Slamdance 2015, at the American Documentary Film of Palm Springs and presented in the Panorama section of the Festival dei Popoli in Florence.
He has written and acted in many works for the theater, including In viaggio con Aurora and “Chisciotte e gli Invincibili”. He regularly contributes to a variety of newspapers and magazines.
He is also an experienced and enthusiastic mountain climber. In 2002 he was the first person over fifty to have scaled a cliff with the technical difficulty rating of 8b.
In 2005 he completed a Himalayan expedition with his friend Nives Meroi; its story was later retold in Sulla traccia di Nives.
He lives in a rural area near Rome.