Italian Tour: Milan, Turin, Padua – ‘Come cade la luce’ launch

 In Diary, News

Janus: the two-headed Roman god, who looks to both the future and the past; he who presides over transitions; who symbolises duality and the passage of time.
His name was given to what is often the bleakest of months – at least in this corner of the world – January. A month that is filled with all the darkness of winter; a time of post-Christmas blues; and often, a time that finds us at our lowest ebb, before even the hardiest of daffodils have lifted their heads.


This January, though, was of a very different kind. It was filled with new and exciting possibilities. I had the great good fortune to have an invitation to the North of Italy. There, I embarked on a book tour of several cities, a tour that celebrated the publication of my eleventh novel ‘Come cade la luce’ (‘The Way the Light Falls’.)

Once again, my Italian publishers, Guanda, are the first to publish: they take great pride in publishing the Italian language edition of this new book in advance of the English publication – and we set out on a lovely adventure together to send it on its way into the world.


‘The Way the Light Falls’ is the second novel in a planned trilogy: one that sets out to reimagine Greek myths for a contemporary audience. In this case, the myth I plunged into three years ago is that of Phaedra. I’ve transformed her into a twenty-first century woman with twenty-first century challenges.

I loved the process. I’m almost sad that it’s over.


I have always appreciated the work of literary translators: those who reimagine the original work and transform it, so that it happily inhabits another language. I am fortunate to continue working with Ada Arduini, whose translations are, I am reliably informed, consistently superb.
Ada says, about the work that she loves:

“At times you feel such a deep connection to a book that words simply flow and you write like your fingers are on fire.”



First stop on the book tour was the Festival of Writers in Milan on the 28th January. Now in its sixth year, the Festival had a packed programme of events and was the ideal opportunity to launch ‘Come cade la luce’.

Held in the vast industrial space of Frigoriferi, this year’s festival was dedicated to the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini and revisited, in many of its discussions, the turbulent events of 1968.


The following day we travelled toTurin – a welcome return visit to the glorious Circolo dei Lettori. It’s a wonderful organisation: one that reaches out and welcomes all sorts of activities for book lovers. It was a real pleasure to be there, to meet again with a lively and welcoming audience.

And dinner was memorable too – in the beautiful basement restaurant.



I felt very much at home on the 1st February, in Padua.

The rain was torrential. All day. Irish rain.

But nothing could dampen our spirits. Lunch at the famous eighteenth century Caffé Pedrocchi set us up for an afternoon of walking around this lovely city.

In the evening, the bookshop ‘La forma del libro’ hosted the Padua launch of ‘Come cade la luce’. The owner, Lucia Stellato, was warm and welcoming and all of us – including a great audience – had a lot of fun.


In ‘La forma del libro’, I also met and chatted with the wonderful Valentina Berengo – a ‘Personal Book Shopper’ – someone whose passion for books and reading is a joy to behold.

We could have kept talking all evening. In fact, that’s exactly what we did.

Next stops: Verona, Livorno and Florence. These three cities will be the subject of my next post, so watch this space!

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