Historical Saga

La portalettere

(The Letter Carrier)

Casa Editrice Nord, January 2023, pp.384

2023 Bancarella Prize Winner – Prize awarded by booksellers.

Nine months in the top ten charts!
190,000 copies sold!



English Sample Available

Anna Allavena, Letter Carrier: the extraordinary story of an ordinary woman who moves from Northern Italy to the South and becomes the first postwoman in a village in the Salento region.

A riveting story about female courage and emancipation, as well as about two inseparable brothers destined to love the same woman.

Salento, June 1934. A coach stops in the main square of Lizzanello, a village with only a few souls. A couple get off: the man, Carlo, a child of the South, is happy to be back home; the woman, Anna – his wife – is from the North. She is as beautiful as a Greek statue, but sad and worried: what kind of life awaits her in this unfamiliar land?

In the eyes of the villagers, Anna never ceases to be “the foreigner” who doesn’t attend church, doesn’t wander around the village and doesn’t gossip. Proud and prickly, Anna never yields to the customs of Southern women: not only does she take the postal services public exam, but actually passes it and becomes the first postwoman in the village, or rather the first “letter carrier”, as she wants to be called.

For over twenty years, Anna is the invisible thread that brings the village residents and their stories together. First on foot, then by bicycle, proud in her navy blue cap and uniform, Anna delivers letters from the young men at the front, postcards from emigrants and missives from secret lovers. Without meaning to – and above all without the villagers wanting it – the letter carrier changes many things in Lizzanello.

Casa Editrice Nord, January 2023, pp.384

  • “A great historical and coming-of-age novel, interwoven with maturity and wisdom, that speaks to each of us in a way that allows a fragment of life to contain and give back an entire universe.” 

    Maria Grazia Ligato, Io Donna

  • “Within a traditional structure and using plain language, La portalettere conceals a strong soul, that of marginal, saved stories.”

    Nadia Terranova, Tuttolibri

  • ‘An intense, engaging style.” 

    Patrizia Violi, La Lettura – Corriere della sera

Rights Sold

World Arabic Rights: Al Arabi Publishing; France: Albin Michel; Lithuania: Alma Littera; Poland: Znak; Portugal: Presença; Romania: Univers; Russia: Alpina Publishers; World Spanish Rights: Duomo.

Audiovisual rights sold

Francesca Giannone

Francesca Giannone graduated in Communication Science and studied at the Experimental Centre for Cinematography. She has published various short stories in literary magazines, both in print and online. Since moving back to her native Lizzanello, in the Salento region, she has carried on writing and cultivating her other great passion: painting primarily women.

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