The internationally acclaimed Italian author, Elena Ferrante has revealed her top 40 books by women for the first time, with a curated list of her must reads shared on Bookshop to support independent bookshops.
Offering a rare insight into the pseudonymous author’s reading tastes, Elena Ferrante’s Recommended Reading List shines a light on the female authors who have inspired her work and brought her pleasure as a reader.
Celebrating Ferrante’s favourite works of literature by women written in the 20th and 21st centuries, the list focuses on authors whose books are available in English. The international list spans novels and short stories by authors hailing from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, UK, Ukraine, USA and Nigeria.
Ranging from internationally acclaimed and award-winning writers, to authors less well known on the world stage, books featured by Elena Ferrante include: Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved; Zadie Smith’s White Teeth; Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life; Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge; Margaret Atwood’s Man Booker-winning The Blind Assassin; Alice Munro’s Dear Life; Elsa Morante’s Premio Strega-winning Arturo’s Island; Jhumpa Lahiri’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah; Arundhati Roy’s Booker-winning The God of Small Things; Sally Rooney’s Costa-winning Normal People; and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.
Elena Ferrante said of her Reading List: “Stories of women with two feet, and sometimes one, in the 20th century.”
Zadie Smith (White Teeth) said: “Reading all of Ferrante slowly, in Italian, and then with obsessive speed, in English, have been two of the great reading experiences of my life. I am thrilled to be included in this wonderful initiative on behalf of independent bookshops.”
Eva Ferri, Publisher at Europa Editions added: “We are tremendously excited to be able to share this inspiring list with Elena’s readers and that it comes in support of the launch of Bookshop.org, a brilliant, much needed enterprise. I hope for many this will be a chance to discover a new author, or to pick up a classic they never read – I feel very thankful to Elena who offered to us a great itinerary through the landscape of books written by some exceptional women.”
Named as one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in 2016, Ferrante is best known for her Neapolitan quartet (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child), published by Europa Editions, which has sold over 13 million copies worldwide, in more than 40 countries. Her most recent novel, published in English by Europa Editions, is The Lying Life of Adults.