Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Donatella Di Pietrantonio
A Girl Returned

First Book Award: Nominee

A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio was nominated for the 2019 First Book Award.

What's the First Book Award? What's this?

Donatella Di Pietrantonio may live in a small village in Abruzzo region of Italy, but her exceptional talent as a storyteller has catapulted her into a global star.

Having crafted her writing skills from the age of nine, Di Pietrantonio published her first novel My Mother Is a River in Italy in 2011, where it won the Tropea and the John Fante literary prizes. Her follow-up, 2013’s Bella Mia, was equally well-received and collected the Brancati Prize in 2014.

Di Pietrantonio’s third novel, A Girl Returned – marks the English-language debut of this extraordinary literary talent. It has been translated by Ann Goldstein, one of the most accomplished translators working in Italy today.

Without warning or a word of explanation, an unnamed 13-year-old girl is sent away from the family she has always thought of as hers to live with her birth family: a large, chaotic assortment of individuals whom she has never met and who seem anything but welcoming. Thus begins a new life; one of struggle, conflict - especially between the young girl and her mother - and deprivation. Set against the stark, beautiful landscape of Abruzzo in central Italy, this is a compelling story about mothers and daughters, about responsibility, siblings, and caregiving.

When it was originally published in 2016, A Girl Returned gained instant acclaim. It won Italy’s most prestigious literary prizes, the Campiello and sold more than 200,000 copies in Italy alone. A film version is already in development.

When not writing award-winning novels, Di Pietrantonio practices as a paediatric dentist.

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