Drinking bitter coffee brings passion and love


With 15 books published since 2002, Simonetta Agnello Horby brought her Sicily and its stories all over the world. Born in Palermo, she moved to London 30 years ago where she worked as family lawyer.

Her first book, The Almond Picker (La mennullara) published by Penguin, was an international best seller, translated in twelve languages, winner of many literary awards.

In 2016 she published the best-seller Caffè Amaro with Feltrinelli, a story of love and eroticism set in her Sicily. Simonetta will discuss her last book with John Lloyd of Financial Times at the Italian Culture Institute on Tuesday, 8th November.

When Maria, a 15-year-old girl coming from a family with great ideals but with no means, meets Pietro, 34, for the first time she is so scared that she does not dare to ask for sugar to put on her coffee. From that moment on, she will always have bitter coffee.

Pietro is a 34-year-old man who loves travels, women and gambling. He proposes to her and initiate her to the pleasure of love and to a more open life. But during a trip to Tripoli, Maria finds out what relates her to her Giosué, whom she has always considered like a brother. From that moment on they will start a secret relationship that will last twenty years.

The story is set in an imaginary village called Camagni, ans spans a period that goes from the beginning of fascism to the bombings that destroy Palermo.

Simonetta Agnello Hornby in conversation with John Lloyd on Tuesday, 8th November at the Italian Culture Institute.

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