Fabrizia Ramondino was born in 1936 in Naples. She lived in Majorca (1936-44), France (1948-50), Germany (1954-56), Milan and Rome (1957-60), and travelled to many other places (China, Quebec, Australia, Sahara). She then lived in Naples until she moved to Itri (Lazio) in the wake of the 1980 earthquake.
In Naples she did voluntary work as a teacher at the Associazione Risveglio Napoli, a lay association which offered free classes for children and adults from the Neapolitan lower classes (1960-67). At the same time she obtained a degree in languages from the Istituto Universitario Orientale and had a daughter (1966). Between the birth of her daughter and 1984, she taught French in state schools. During the 1970s, she played an important role as a social and political activist with the Centro di Coordinamento Campano, a small organisation of the new left which worked primarily with the urban unemployed and poor agricultural labourers. The latter experience was recorded in her first publication: Napoli. I disoccupati organizzati. I protagonisti raccontano (1977, new edition:1998).
Her first novel, Althénopis, followed in 1981, and was translated into German (Arche), French (Flammarion), Spanish (Alfaguara) and English (Carcanet Press). During the 1980s she wrote for various newspapers, and especially Il Mattino. Her novel Un giorno e mezzo (1989) was inspired by her social and political activism in Naples in the late 1960s. She collaborated with Mario Martone on the script of the film Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992), which was published by Ubulibri in the same year. Her collaboration with Martone continued with her play Terremoto con madre e figlia, inspired by the 1980 earthquake, which he directed in 1994.
As the titles of her books demonstrate, place and travel are most important to Ramondino’s work, which moves incessantly between Naples, Italy, Europe and beyond.
She died in Gaeta in June 2008, the day before the publication of her novel La Via.
She was awarded several literary prizes, Premio Napoli and Elsa Morante among them.
Extract from the article by Adalgisa Giorgio on the website of The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London. Published here with the author's consent. Original article accessed on 31st August 2015.
1977 - Napoli. I disoccupati organizzati. I protagonisti raccontano, re-issued in 1998 with the title Ci dicevano analfabeti. Il movimento dei disoccupati napoletani degli anni '70.
1981 - Althénopolis
1983 - Storie di patio
1987 - Taccuino Tedesco
1988 - Un giorno e mezzo
1989 - Dadapolis. Caleidoscopio napoletano, with A. F. Muller
1991 - Star di casa
1992 - Morte di un matematico napoletano, with M. Martone
1994 - Terremoto con madre e figlia
1995 - In viaggio
1997 - Polisario. Un'astronave dimenticata nel deserto
1998 - L'isola dei bambini
1998 - L'isola riflessa
2000 - Passaggio a Trieste
2001 - Guerra di infanzia e di Spagna
2002 - Il libro dei sogni
2004 - Per un sentiero chiaro
2004 - Il calore
2008 - La Via