(Bio as of April 2005)
Alessandro Baricco is Italy's most famous contemporary writer. Born in Turin in 1958, he studied philosophy and earned a diploma in piano at university. After a short time working as a copywriter for an ad agency, he started his writing career as a music and cultural critic for the Italian press. His first novel, Castles of Anger (1991), won Italy's Prix Medicis and the Campiello Prize. His other novels include Ocean Sea (1993), Silk (1996), City (1999) and Without Blood (2002). Silk, which became an immediate best seller in Italy, has been translated into 16 languages, including Japanese. Critics have commented that it is no surprise Baricco was trained as a musicologist, given the lyrical nature of much of his writing. Baricco has also written plays and essays and hosted television programs on opera and literature. In 1991 he founded a training program for writers, The Holden School. Baricco has a great interest in publicly reading his work; he worked with the French musical group Air in 2002 on a reading of City, which was successful enough to warrant making a DVD of the collaboration, City Reading. Last fall he gave sold-out public readings in Rome and Turin of his adaptation of Homer's Iliad.
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