Silvia Ballestra
La Sibilla. Vita di Joyce Lussu (The Sybil. Life of Joyce Lussu)
Laterza, a biography, October 2022, 256 pages

Foreign rights: Agnese Gualdrini (

From the pen of a great Italian writer, the extraordinary life of Joyce Lussu: poetess, partisan, feminist, rebellious woman with a portentous talent.

Gioconda Salvadori, Joyce for everyone, (1912-1998) lived a legendary, adventurous, poetic and political life. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, with an aristocratic bearing, she is a woman of exceptional beauty, with a remarkable charm. Throughout the 20th century she thought, wrote, acted and fought, travelling around Europe, first to study philosophy in Germany, and then across the borders of Nazi-fascist-occupied Europe: Paris, Lisbon, London, Marseilles, Rome and southern Italy. Her story is a plot of forged documents, secret missions, clandestine diplomacy: Joyce, together with her husband Emilio Lussu and the “Giustizia e Libertà” comrades, was supported in her choices by her anti-fascists family and was in the front line of the war of liberation, for which she received a silver medal for military valour. A poet, a translator and a writer, she has always combined thought (prefiguring, very modern) and action. This action continued in the post-war period with the fight against imperialist oppression. She translated, in a way that was revolutionary in terms of method and choices, the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet and many other resistant poets from Albania, Kurdistan, Angola (Agostinho Nieto), and the Afro-American poets of black power. Joyce lived a rebellious life right up to the end, with constant attention to the new generations, whom she called “the living future”. Silvia Ballestra was one of those young people who had the privilege of meeting Joyce personally in the 1990s and who now tells us about her in an unforgettable portrait.

Silvia Ballestra

Silvia Ballestra was born in Porto San Giorgio (Ascoli Piceno). She was one of Pier Vittorio Tondelli’s “under 25s” in the landmark series of the late 1980s. She is the author of Compleanno dell’iguana (1991; 1995), La seconda Dora (2006), Piove sul nostro amore (2008), I giorni della Rotonda (2009, Città di Fabriano Award), Le colline di fronte (2011), a journey around the life of Tullio Pericoli, Amiche mie (2014), the children book Christine e la città delle dame (2015), Vicini alla terra (2017), La nuova stagione (2019, Benedetto Croce Award 2020). Her most recent book is La Sibilla. Vita di Joyce Lussu (2022, Premio Alghero Donna).



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