Susanna Tamaro
Susanna Tamaro.jpg
Born (1957-12-12) 12 December 1957 (age 64)
Trieste, Italy
OccupationNovelist, director

Susanna Tamaro (Italian pronunciation: [suˈzanna taˈmaːro]; born 12 December 1957)[1] is an Italian novelist and film director. She is an author of novels, stories, magazine articles, and children's literature. Her novel Va' dove ti porta il cuore (Follow your Heart) was a bestseller, translated into 44 languages, and received the 1994 Premio Donna Citta di Roma.

Early life and education

Susanna Tamaro was born and raised in Trieste in 1958.[1][2] Her parents separated, and she has described her father as an alcoholic and her mother as "cold and cruel".[3] After her parents separated, she was raised by her maternal grandmother.[4] She also described herself as a "strange child", and being treated by neurologists and taking medications.[3] But then she read about Asperger's syndrome and received her diagnosis.[3]

She received a scholarship to study at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, an Italian school of cinema, where she obtained a diploma in direction in 1977 and began working with director Salvatore Samperi.[5] She worked as a writer and editor in the television industry for several years.[5]

Writing career

In 1978, she started writing her first short stories. Her first novel Illmitz was completed in 1981 but rejected by all the publishing houses she approached.[6][5] It was eventually published in 2013.[6]

In 1989, her novel La testa fra le nuvole (Head in Clouds) was published by Marsilio.[5][7] Her second novel Per voce sola (Solo Voice) (1991) won the International PEN prize and was translated into several languages.[citation needed] Federico Fellini said of her second novel, "It has given me the joy of being moved without embarrassing me, as it happened to me when I read Oliver Twist or certain pages of America, by Kafka."[7] In 1991, she wrote a book for children Cuore di ciccia.

Her 1993 novel Va' dove ti porta il cuore (Follow your Heart) did not receive favorable reception from critics when it was first published,[8][9] but it became a bestseller[10][11][12][13] and sold 15 million copies by 2008.[14] It is described as the "Italian book most sold in the 20th century";[15][16] as of 2008, about 25,000 copies had sold in the United States.[14] The novel won the Premio Donna Citta di Roma award in 1994.[17][18] By 2002, it was translated into 44 languages.[7] In 1996, the Italian director, Cristina Comencini, made a film of the same name based on the novel.[19]

In 1997, she published the novel Anima Mundi, and was widely criticized for her portrayal of Father Walter in what she described as "a shameful campaign" of "insults, threats and slander".[7][20] In 1998, she published Dear Matildha - I can't wait for man to walk, a collection of articles she wrote for Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian magazine.[5]

Her book Rispondimi (Answer Me) was described by Kirkus Reviews as "Holy abstractions brightened by dollops of sex and violence."[21] The book consists of three stories, featuring the daughter of a prostitute, the wife of a businessman, and a jealous husband.[7] A review by World Literature Today states, "The book's title comes from the closing passage of the first story, when Rosa, alone in the world, asks a stray white dog (a white dog appears in each story) if Someone guides us or if we are alone in the world. When the dog just looks at her with its tongue hanging out, she tells it to speak, to answer her: "Rispondimi"."[22] A review in Library Journal refers to the protagonists in each story and concludes, "Their bitterness at the world and inability to love or be loved is so off-putting that the reader is likely to stop caring long before they reach their moments of truth. Not recommended."[23] A review by Publishers Weekly states, "If Tamaro's view is dark, the care she takes with character development infuses her narratives with a clear and resonant moral vision."[24]

In 2001, she wrote Raccontami. In 2002, she wrote Più fuoco, più vento; in 2003 Fuori.

In 2005, she directed the film Nel mio amore, based on a story from Answer Me, titled "Hell does not exist".[5][7]

In 2006, she published Ascolta la mia voce (Listen to my voice), a sequel of Follow your Heart.[16] This novel was translated in twelve languages.[citation needed]

In 2008, she published Luisito- A Love Story.

In September 2018 she announced the release of her next book and anticipated that in it she tells of being affected by Asperger syndrome since the early years of life.[25]


In 2021, a documentary about Tamaro titled Inedita was shown at the Rome Film Festival and then on television in Italy on channel Rai 5.[26][27] In the documentary, she discusses her life with Asperger's syndrome, her writing career, and her various interests, including bicycle repair, beekeeping, and the practice of martial arts.[26]

Awards and honors



Personal life

In a 2002 interview, Tamaro described herself as an environmentalist and a vegetarian, and "a Christian more than a Catholic" due to the religious beliefs of her family, including her father's interest in Taoism and her Jewish mother.[7] As of 2021, she has lived with the writer Roberta Mazzoni for more than thirty years.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Susanna Tamaro". Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors. Gale. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  2. ^ Valle, Annachiara (December 12, 2017). "60 anni di Susanna Tamaro sotto l'ala dell'angelo tremendo dell'amore". Famiglia Cristiana. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Degl'Innocenti, Fulvia (February 18, 2019). "Susanna Tamaro: la bambina "strana" con l'Asperger salvata dai libri". Famiglia Cristiana. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Susanna Tamaro sana su corazon a traves de la literatura". El Universal de México (in Spanish). United Press International. January 31, 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2022 – via Gale.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Susanna Tamaro, scrittrice: biografia e curiosità". Italiaonline. December 2, 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b Perazzolo, Paolo (December 10, 2013). "Susanna Tamaro, il romanzo misterioso". Famiglia Cristiana. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Martínez, Sanjuana (March 24, 2002). "Susanna Tamaro: "El amor del Evangelio provoca odio"". Proceso (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  8. ^ d Aquino, Niccolo (April 1995). "Susanna Tamaro". Europe (345): 38 – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ Tonkin, Boyd (June 30, 1995). "Short books about dying -- Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro / Oblivion by Josephine Hart". New Statesman & Society. 8 (359): 40 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ Solomon, Charles (August 25, 2006). "FOLLOW YOUR HEART by Susanna Tamaro". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  11. ^ Marshall, Lee (24 June 1995). "Just one little lie". The Independent. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  12. ^ Kellaway, Kate (25 June 1995). "One from the heart Italians have bought a million copies of SUSANNA TAMARO's `Follow Your Heart'. Kate Kellaway finds out why". The Guardian – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Williams, Daniel (4 Dec 1995). "Italian Page-Turner". The Washington Post – via ProQuest.
  14. ^ a b Povoledo, Elisabetta (August 3, 2008). "Coming to America from Italy - No, not another mafia story". New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  15. ^ "Il successo di «Va' dove ti porta il cuore», tra i «Grandi Libri» al Salone di Torino". Corriere della Sera. April 27, 2011.
  16. ^ a b Hoffman, Matthew (23 November 2008). "Listen to my Voice, By Susanna Tamaro, trs John Cullen". The Independent. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Follow Your Heart". Kirkus Reviews. August 1, 1995. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  18. ^ Dekle, Shannon (July 1, 1995). "Tamaro, Susanna. Follow Your Heart". Library Journal. 120 (12): 124 – via EBSCOhost.
  19. ^ "Follow Your Heart". Variety. March 3, 1996. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  20. ^ Gumbel, Andrew (June 16, 1997). "Novelist pays a bitter price for popularity; Susanna Tamaro's success provokes the literati to pick up poison pens". The Independent.
  21. ^ "Rispondimi". Kirkus Reviews. January 15, 2002. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  22. ^ King, Martha (Spring 2002). "Reviewed Work: Rispondimi by Susanna Tamaro". World Literature Today. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. 76 (2): 218–219. doi:10.2307/40157461. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  23. ^ DeZelar-Tiedman, Christine (April 1, 2002). "Rispondimi (Book)". Library Journal. 127 (6) – via EBSCOhost.
  24. ^ "RISPONDIMI (Book)". Publishers Weekly. 249 (5). February 4, 2002 – via EBSCOhost.
  25. ^ Tamaro, Susanna (17 September 2018). "La sfida di Susanna Tamaro: «La mia vita con l'Asperger»". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  26. ^ a b c "Susanna Tamaro senza maschere in un docu". ANSA (in Italian). December 26, 2021. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  27. ^ "Susanna Tamaro: Unplugged". Cinecittà. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  28. ^ "I nostri autori". Premio Italo Calvino. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  29. ^ "LE VINCITRICI DELLE SCORSE EDIZIONI". Rapallo Carige. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Premio letturatura ragazzi". Fondazione Casa di Risparmio Cento. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  31. ^ Zipp, Yvonne (October 30, 1995). "Grandmother writes to her granddaughter heart-to-heart". Christian Science Monitor. Vol. 88, no. 4.
  32. ^ Sellers, John A.; Roback, Diane (April 12, 2016). "Bologna 2016: Wrapping Up a Quietly Busy Fair". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  33. ^ Jays, David (22 February 2003). "Destroyed by happiness". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  34. ^ Kindrick, Erica (2010). "El gran árbol". School Library Journal. 56 (11) – via EBSCOhost.
  35. ^ "BRASILIA, THE PLEASURE OF READING SUSANNA TAMARO IN ITALIAN". States News Service. August 21, 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2022 – via Gale.
  36. ^ "Nota Benes, May 2018". World Literature Today. May 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2022.