Before being the director of Europa Editions UK - an independent literature-in-translation specialist based in New York, London and Rome - Daniela Petracco was an agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates Literary Agency. She has a BA in English at Birkbeck University and a MA in Translation Studies at Warwick University. Europa Editions was founded in 2005 in order to bring international voices to the American and British markets. Now, they can be really happy given the international success of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, including My Brilliant Friend, a New York Times bestseller.
Elena Ferrante novels are the global literary sensation now. She even has her own hashtag: #FerranteFever. What are the reasons of that fever in your opinion?
Because her books are ‘visceral and compelling’, ‘subversive’, ‘immediate’, ‘expansive yet intimate’. ‘Fiction of the very highest order’, and so ‘addictive’ you can read it on the beach. All adjective used are quoted from recent reviews.
What do you think about her being an invisible & mysterious author? Some say (such as the writer Massimiliano Parente) it is just another form of exhibitionism.
I think it’s a personal decision with universal implications about the role of the author. I don’t think it’s anything to do with exhibitionism.
If you can choose two titles, one Italian and one British, what would you choose?
L’amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend) - and the other volumes of the Neapolitan novels - and Angela Carter’s Wise Children.
If you could, which Italian author would you make famous in the UK?
Elena Varvello, in Italy too. It will happen.
What is the main difference between Italian and British culture?
(British) substance, over (Italian) style.
If you were Prime Minister in UK for a week, what would you do?
Ensure every child in Britain receives the same level of excellent education.
Why did you leave Italy?
To study in the UK. (she has a Master in Translations Studies, ndr)
Do you plan to go back one day?
Earliest London memory?
Being driven on the M25 thinking, this isn’t London, surely.
East or West London?
Where my loved ones and my books are.