The Nobel Prize for literature is one of the most prestigious literary awards around. The list of previous winners reads like a “who’s who” of some of the most influential and talented people to ever put pen to paper.
The 2020 winner has already been announced as Louise Glück. However, the prize isn’t simply given to a single author based on a committee’s decision. Instead, several writers vie for the Nobel Prize after receiving nominations from other respected names in the literary field.
This year, Giovanna Giordano was one of those writers.
For Italy, this represents a major move in the literary world. At 58, Giordano has published three spectacular books, several of which espouse the virtues of Italy and its culture. But perhaps most importantly, she is a writer of Italian descent who is flying the flag for the arts in a country that’s as renowned as any other in the world for its contributions to culture.
However, we also know that many outside of Italy may not know how Giordano is!
In this article, we aim to raise the profile of one of today’s great Italian writers. And who knows? Maybe after this you’ll feel tempted to curl up with one of her books and a nice glass of Italian wine.
Who is Giovanna Giordano?
Born in Milan in 1961, Giovanna Giordano is a journalist and novelist who has a rich history behind her.
Though born in Milan, her parents are of Sicilian descent, which has resulted in Giordano’s writing often offering a fusion of different cultures. Clearly influenced by the artistic nature of the city of her birth, Giordano’s Sicilian heritage still shines through in everything that she does. Her father, Nicola, is a scientist who often states that he owes his training to Milan and imagination to Sicily.
Perhaps the same is true of his daughter.
Giordano attended Messina’s Liceo Classico Francesco Maurolico as part of her early education. She then continued her studies at the International University of Art in Florence, thus gaining further cultural influences that would eventually rear their heads in her work. While at the university, she studied under the great Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti and specialised in art criticism, as well as the history of African arts.
It is also in the artistic sphere that she first began to make a name for herself.
Starting in the mid-1980s, she began writing and contributing to several art books and catalogues. Here, she put on her journalist’s hat to offer both criticism and insight into the history of the subject’s covered. We’d also like to think that it is here where she first realised that she had a literary talent that extended beyond the non-fiction world and into the more creative areas of writing.
Always a keen traveller, it was during a trip to New York when Giordano’s career took a different turn. Infused with inspiration from yet another wonderful culture, she began working on what would become China Dear, I Sing to You. Though unpublished, this book marked her entry into the world of fiction, in addition to earning her some early critical recognition. The novel received a nomination for the Italo Calvino Award, which propelled Giordano further into her new career.
Five years after finishing work on her first novel, Giordano officially published her second – Thirty-Six Thousand Days. It is in this book that we see the clearest influences that Italy has had on the brilliant writer. A wonderful tale about vision, myth, and the Mediterranean Sea, you can consider it a celebration of the very culture that allowed Giordano to thrive. The book also received similar critical acclaim to her first, receiving the prestigious Sciascia award.
Two more books have followed in the years since – A Magical Flight and The Mystery of Lithian. Both have achieved critical acclaim of their own, with the later also receiving the Sciascia award!
Though she has been inactive on the literary scene since, Giordano received a nomination for the 2020 Nobel Prize based on the strength of her previous books. And now, we’re more excited than ever before to see what projects she’s working on and if she will produce another great novel for all of us to enjoy.
Spreading Italian Culture
You may wonder why an Italian wine website would dedicate so much time to profiling an author. Giordano’s works, while influenced by Italian culture, are not specifically about Italian wine. In fact, they’re more focused on the arts than they are on anything else.
However, we feel that it’s important to shine a spotlight on anybody who makes important contributions to Italian culture. With her writing, Giordano takes the reader on journeys that help them to better understand both the experiences that she’s enjoyed and the imagination that is capable of conjuring up such vivid imagery. Perhaps it is these talents that led to her nomination. And though she unfortunately fell short, we’d like to think that the publicity from that nomination will help others to discover a writer who has somewhat flown under the radar of most barring a select group of Italian critics.
And so we encourage all of our readers to search for Giordano’s books, if at all possible. Granted, it may be difficult to find English-language versions of them. However, we can think of no better way to enjoy an evening that to settle down with a book and a nice glass of Italian wine.
Even if you can’t find one of Giordano’s books available in a language that you understand, you can still experience the joys of the culture that inspired here. At Xtrawine, we can contribute to those joys with our large selection of Italian wines. While Giordano uses her words to express the wonderful influences of her culture, winemakers use their wines. Perhaps we could refer to both as artists in their own ways.
All we know is that it’s important to spread Italian culture anywhere that we can.