The daughter of well known ethnologist Fosco Maraini, Dacia
Maraini spent her early childhood in Japan while her father
conducted his research. Because of her parents' anti-fascist
views, the family was con fined in a concentration camp during
the final years of the war. After their return from Japan, she
and her family lived in Sicily, for the first few years in Bagheria
at the ancestral home of her mother, painter Topazia Alliata.
The girl Dacia studied in Palermo, Florence and Rome, beginning
her writing career with articles in literary magazines.
Her first novel, "La vacanza" ("The Vacation")
was published in 1962, and the second, "L’età
del malessere" ("The age of discontent ") won
the International Formentor Prize in 1963 and has been translated
into twelve languages. She has subsequently published eight
more novels, several investigative studies, and collections
of poetry and essays. Among her other translated works are:
"Memorie di una ladra" 1973 ("Memoirs of a Female
Thief"; "Donna in guerra" 1975 ("Woman at
War") ;" Lettere a Marina" 1981 ("Letters
to Marina"); "Il treno per Helsinki" 1984 ("The
Train"); "Isolina" (1985);" La lunga vita
di Marianna Ucria " 1990 ("The Silent Duchess")
; "Viaggiando con passo di volpe", 1983-1991 ("
Traveling in the Gait of a Fox"). Her most recent works
include "Bagheria" (1993), a narrative memoir on Sicily,
and "Cercando Emma" 1994 ("Searching for Emma")
a study on Flaubert’s creation of Emma Bovary. She has
won major literary prizes for her work, notably the Premio Campiello
for "La lunga vita di Marianna Ucria" and Premio Strega
in 1999. Both "La lunga vita di Marianna Ucria" and
"Bagheria" (12 editions by 1994) stayed on Italy's
best-seller lists for close to two years.
While continuing to publish novels and poetry, she co-founded
the Teatro del Porcospino in the 1960's and established the
feminist experimental theatre La Maddalena in Rome, in 1973.
The American literary magazine Aphra-serially published her
play "Manifesto" in 1972-73, and a production was
subsequently presented at the Provincetown Playhouse. Another
play, "Mary Stuart," has been performed at La Mama
Theatre in New York, in Holland at the Publieke Theatre, in
Spain at the Teatro EspaÔol de Madrid (dir. Hemilio Hernandez),
and in Montevideo, Uruguay at the Teatro Candela, (dir. Marcelino
Dufau) 1986, as well as in Australia, Belgium, Germany, and
Austria, and later in 1990 at California State University, Hayward,
while "I sogni di Clitennestra" ("The Dreams
of Clytemnestra") was performed in a English translation
by the City Troupe in New York in September 1989. Other plays
include "Dialogo di una prostituta con il suo cliente"
("Dialogue between a Prostitute and her Client"),
performed in London by the Monstrous Regiment at the East End
Theatre, 1980-81, director Ann Mitchell, and " Stravaganza"
performed in Vienna at the Kunstlerhaus, directed by Johanna
Thomek in 1987, then in Australia, Brazil, and Germany.
Additional plays continue to be translated and performed, most
recently a stage version of "Marianna Ucrìa".
Several films have been made on her books and she herself has
written screenplays for such directors as Pier Paolo Pasolini,
Marco Ferreri, Carlo Di Palma, and Margarethe Von Trotta.
She continues to be active in feminist causes and as a commentator
on politics and society, especially in columns for newspapers
and weeklies. Her articles have appeared regularly in such publications
as Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, L'Unità , Paese Sera
. Of these, several earlier essays have been collected in "La
Bionda, la bruna, e I'asino" (1987).
Her last success is the collections of short stories called
"Buio", which won the most prestigious italian literary
prize: the Premio Strega, in 1999.