Reclusive Italian author Elena Ferrante is new Guardian columnist

Italian author Elena Ferrante will join The Guardian as a weekly columnist, the newspaper announced.
Italian author Elena Ferrante will join The Guardian as a weekly columnist, the newspaper announced. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (NYTimes) - Reclusive Italian author Elena Ferrante will join The Guardian as a weekly columnist, the newspaper announced on Thursday (Jan 18).

Writing for the London-based paper's Weekend magazine, Ferrante will "share her thoughts on a wide range of topics, including childhood, aging, gender and, in her debut article, first love," according to a news release.

Ferrante is well known as the author of the so-called Neapolitan Novels, four best-selling books that trace the lifelong friendship of two women from Naples. But even as she has risen to international fame, she fiercely guards her privacy and writes under a pseudonym.

Though Ferrante has had a long literary career, the arrangement is her first newspaper column. In a statement, she said she was "attracted to the possibility of testing myself," calling the job "a bold, anxious exercise in writing". Ann Goldstein, who translated the Neapolitan Novels, will also translate the weekly columns, The Guardian said.

In October 2016, an Italian journalist came under fire after suggesting that Elena Ferrante was the pen name of Anita Raja, a translator. The backlash to his investigation was swift, with fans and critics seeing it as a needless and aggressive violation of the writer's privacy.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2014, Ferrante spoke of her desire to remain anonymous. "They are books that I have written to put my writing on display, not me," she said. "I have my life, which for now is quite full." She is working on an adaptation of My Brilliant Friend, the first of the Neapolitan Novels, that will be broadcast by HBO.

The Weekend section where her column will appear is included in the redesign that The Guardian announced Monday as part of a cost-cutting effort. The paper, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 after an international expansion, has suffered heavy losses and reduced its staff in recent years.