Alessandro Baricco

Alessandro Baricco (born January 25, 1958, in Turin) is a popular Italian writer, director and performer. His novels have been translated into a wide number of languages. He currently lives in Rome with his wife and son.

Life and works

After receiving degrees in philosophy (under Gianni Vattimo) and piano, he published essays on music criticism: "Il genio in fuga" (1988) on Gioachino Rossini, and "L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin" ("Hegel's Soul and the Cows of Wisconsin", 1992) on the relation between music and modernity. He subsequently worked as musical critic for "La Repubblica" and "La Stampa", and hosted talk shows on Rai Tre.

Baricco debuted as a novelist with "Castelli di rabbia" (translated as "Lands of Glass") in 1991.

In 1993 he co-founded a creative writing school in Turin, naming it Scuola Holden after J. D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield. The Scuola Holden hosts a variety of courses on narrative techniques including screenwriting, journalism, videogames, novels and short stories.

In the following years his fame grew enormously throughout Europe, with his works topping the Italian and French best-seller lists. Larger recognition followed the adaptation of his theatrical monologue "Novecento" into the movie The Legend of 1900, directed by Academy Award-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore.

He has also worked with the French band Air, releasing "City Reading", a mix of the band's music with Baricco's reading of his novel "City".

He is currently directing the film "Lezione 21".



*"Castelli di rabbia", Rizzoli 1991, Tascabili Bompiani 1994; "Lands of Glass", Penguin 1992. Awarded with Prix Médicis étranger — France
*"Oceano Mare", Rizzoli 1993; "Ocean Sea", 1993. Awarded with Palazzo al Bosco — Italy
*"Novecento. Un monologo", Giangcomo Feltrinelli Editore, Milan, 1994; "", 1994.
*"Seta", Rizzoli 1996; "Silk", 1996. (See Silk (2007 film) for the film adaptation.)
*"City" (original title), Rizzoli 1999.
*"Constellations (Mozart, Rossini, Benjamin, Adorno)" (original title), 1999.
*"Senza sangue", Rizzoli 2002; "Without Blood", 2002. (Also published in revised form in The New Yorker)
*"Questa storia", Fandango 2005; "This Story", 2006.


*"Totem", a literary and musical happening staged in various locations throughout Italy with varying structure and contents. Mostly it consisted of a two-night theatrical event in which Baricco himself, helped by director Gabriele Vacis, actor Eugenio Allegri and musician Daniele Sepe, would read and comment on bits of literature from all centuries and countries, accompanying them with music. In 2001 Rizzoli published the video of "Totem" recorded in Milan in 1997.
*"Novecento", Feltrinelli 1994; "The Legend of 1900" (1994) - originally a monologue for theater staged by director Gabriele Vacis, adapted in 1998 into a film by Giuseppe Tornatore, "La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano", with music composed by Ennio Morricone.
*"Davila Roa", staged only once by director Luca Ronconi. Reportedly a huge fiasco, it was never published in written form.
*"Omero, Iliade", Feltrinelli 2004; "An Iliad", Vintage International 2004 - a rewriting of Homer's "Iliad" consisting of 24 chapters, each telling a part of the story through the eyes and words of a prominent character in the poem. The theatrical event from which the book originated was staged only twice due to its logistic difficulties: it spanned over three nights during which the best contemporary Italian actors would impersonate one character each, eight per night.


*"Partita Spagnola", Audino Editore 2003 (screenplay never shot).

Collected short writings

*"Barnum. Cronache dal Grande Show", Feltrinelli 1995
*"Barnum 2. Altre cronache del Grande Show", Feltrinelli 1998
*"Next. Piccolo libro sulla globalizzazione e il mondo che verrà", Feltrinelli 2002


*"Il genio in fuga. Sul teatro musicale di Rossini", Il Melangolo 1988, Einaudi 1997
*"L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin", Garzanti 1992
*"I Barbari", La Repubblica 2006


Source: "A note about the author" of "Without Blood".
*Prix Médicis étranger — France
*Selezione Campiello — Italy
*Viareggio — Italy
*Palazzo al Bosco — Italy

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