Domenico Starnone

Domenico Starnone (born 1943) is an Italian writer, screenwriter and journalist.

Born in Saviano, near Naples, he has worked for several newspapers and satirical magazines, including L'Unità, Il Manifesto, Tango, and Cuore, usually about episodes of his life as a high school teacher. He also works as screenwriter.

Movies La scuola, The Ties (both by Daniele Luchetti), Auguri Professore (by Riccardo Milani) and Denti (by Gabriele Salvatores) are based on his books.

One of his fictional books is Via Gemito, which won the Premio Strega in 2001. It was suggested in 2006[1] that the mysterious writer Elena Ferrante, author of L'amore molesto and I giorni dell'abbandono, is Starnone himself. In a collection of interviews, the Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey, Ferrante addresses these speculations; she writes that in relation to the speculation that Ferrante is likely to be Starnone, due to her anonymity, and his feeling 'tired of everyone asking if he's Ferrante', she expresses 'That he's right and I feel guilty. But I hold him in great esteem and I'm certain that he understands my motivations. My identity, my sex can be found in my writing. Everything that has sprouted up around that is yet more evidence of the character of Italians in the first years of the twenty-first century.'[2]

Starnone is married to Anita Raja, the literary translator who was said to be the author Elena Ferrante in a report by the Italian investigative journalist Claudio Gatti in 2016.[3]

In 2017 an international research has compared the language of the mysterious novelist with 150 novels, revealing singular similarities with Starnone.[4] The same research team doesn't rule out that Ferrante's novels are the result of the collaboration between Starnone and his wife Anita Raja.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Ex cattedra (1987)
  • Il salto con le aste (1989)
  • Segni d'oro (1990)
  • Fuori registro (1991)
  • Sottobanco (1992)
  • Eccesso di zelo (1993)
  • Denti (1994)
  • Appunti sulla maleducazione di un insegnante volenteroso (1995)
  • La retta via (1996)
  • Via Gemito (2000)
  • La collega Passamaglia (2001)
  • Alice allo Strega (2002)
  • Labilità (2005)
  • Ex cattedra e altre storie di scuola (2007)
  • Prima esecuzione (2007)
  • Spavento (2009)
  • Fare scene. Una storia di cinema (2010)
  • Autobiografia erotica di Aristide Gambìa (2011)
  • Lacci (Ties, 2014)
  • Scherzetto ("Little Trick", 2016)
  • Le false resurrezioni (2018)
  • Confidenza (2019)

English editionsEdit

  • First Execution, translated by Antony Shugaar (2009) ISBN 9781933372662
  • Ties, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (2017) ISBN 9781609453855
  • Trick, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (2018) ISBN 9781609454449


  1. ^ Galella, Luigi (November 23, 2006). "Ferrante è Starnone. Parola di computer". L'Unità. The author points out marked similarities in style between the two writers, also supported by computer analysis.
  2. ^ Goldstein, Ann. (2016). Frantumaglia. Europa Editions UK. pp. Section 3. Chapter 5. Never Lower Your Guard. ISBN 978-1-60945-304-6. OCLC 1035130925.
  3. ^ Rachael Donadio (March 9, 2017). "Domenico Starnone's New Novel Is Also a Piece in the Elena Ferrante Puzzle". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  4. ^ "What is Elena Ferrante? A comparative analysis of a secretive bestselling Italian writer", Tuzzi & Cortelazzo 2018, DOI:10.1093/llc/fqx066 Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Volume 33, Issue 3, September 2018, Pages 685–702