Stefania Spanò

Stefania Spanò is a storyteller, a sign language interpreter and an Italian and History teacher at a  lower secondary school. For years, she has held workshops on theatre, creative writing, empathic communication and visual poetry on the troubled edges of the Neapolitan hinterland, the rest of Italy and abroad. As a storyteller, she tours with tales of her family tradition. This is her first novel.



Garzanti, April 2023

English sample available

Stephanie is a ten-year-old girl in the rough outskirts of Naples, who already knows that words are her one defence against the world. She has been taught that by her grandmother Nannina, a storyteller who gave her hope until someone silenced her.

Two protagonists, two generations. A wonderful tale of working-class people.

Naples. Whenever Stephanie, aged ten, comes back home she complains to her mother about her cousins playing outdoors while she cannot. The reason for that is simple: they can because they’re boys, whereas she is a girl. So she starts reading on the balcony, the only outside area where her parents allow her to go. Stephanie studies because she knows that words are her only defence against the world. Her grandmother Nannina, a storyteller, has told her that. Some say she is just a mad old woman, while others think she is something quite different. With her stories, Nannina has given a place to those who did not have one, an identity and dignity to mothers drained by poverty and the arrogance of men, and made people laugh and cry. That is until the day someone grows weary of Nannina and silences her. It is now up to her granddaughter Stephanie to take up her voice and, in her stories, find her own redemption–that of a girl with a dream: to study and discover freedom.

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