Francesca Marciano was born in Rome, Italy July 17th 1955. She is an Italian novelist, short story author, and screenwriter. She has also had some success as an actress. As Marciano herself describes it, “I was born into a literate family,” which is likely one of the reasons she fit so well into the shoes of a writer. Her grandmother – a novelist himself – inspired her to believe that becoming a writer was not something completely out of the realm of possibility. From the time she was 8, Marciano wanted to travel and be a writer. At twenty-one, Marciano left Italy and moved to New York. This particular instance sticks out in her mind so well because it was the moment she decided to actively pursue her desire to become a writer.
Francesca Marciano is fluent in English and Italian and utilizes her translingualism in different ways with regard to her work. For example, Marciano writes novels, short stories and screenplays. She writes her screenplays only in Italian; only her novels and short stories have ever been published in English. Throughout her career, Marciano has written several award winning novels and short stories such as The Other Language, Casa Rossa, Rules of the Wild, and The End of Manners. Her screenplay credits include: Honey, Don’t Tell and I’m Not Scared. Marciano also co-wrote and co-directed a single Italian short film which was featured at a film festival. However the experience left her detached from ever actually directing again; thus she decided to permanently shift her focus to writing.
Casa Rossa is actually a novel that is an interesting case regarding Marciano herself. The book was published in 2002 and follows the actions of three women across decades. The novel is also set to the real world Italian backdrop that was known as “The Years of Lead.” This period ran between the 1960’s all through the 1980’s, and was the center point for years of violence and terrorist activities. Casa Rossa (like other examples of her work) is a novel that examines history repeating itself. The reason that this book is so prominent is that it’s a work that Marciano herself attempted to translate from English into Italian. Sometime during this endeavor, however, she decided to stop because as she was translating she realized that the differences between the two languages were resulting in two very different stories. If she was going to do this, then she would simply have to start from scratch with a brand new story.
One of the darker and more memorable Italian screenplays that Marciano authored is Honey, Don’t Tell. It was released March 17, 2006. The plot is a drama/mystery and contains the recurring theme among Marciano’s characters encountering the past or history repeating itself. “I always saw a parallel in the way history unfolds and passes on its version to the next generation,” said Marciano. The film centers on a woman (Sabina) who steadily becomes unsettled by her severe past, due mostly to her pregnancy breathing new life into these memories. The movie follows Sabina as she confronts her brother for answers about her past and tries to bring peace into her present.
The divergence between English and Italian in her screenplays and novels is by no means a random preference of Marciano’s. Marciano doesn’t believe that her screenplays would translate all too well written in English; English and Italian simply accomplish different things. About her novels, Marciano finds that writing in English keeps her focused and objective. In that she believes that learning a new language is like undergoing a transformation; as though it were changing one’s mind and logic into something almost entirely different.
“An Interview with Francesca Marciano.” BookBrowse. n.p., n.d. Web 14 Fed. 2015.
“Profile: Francesca Marciano.” New York State Writer Institute. n.p., n.d. Web 14 Feb. 2015.
“Francesca Marciano.” IMDB. n.p., n.d. Web 14 Feb 2015.
“All Roads lead to Rome? Francesca Marciano.” Publishers Weekly. Louisa Emerlino. March 21, 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.
By Daniel Shaw
Back to The Translingual Imagination