alain elkann interviews

LITERATURE AND EDUCATION

Virgilio Sacchini

"A New Renaissance for Medicine." Dr. Virgilio Sacchini is a surgeon who specializes in the treatment of breast cancer. He will be attending a meeting in Florence on October 15 and 16, 2015, at the Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G.P. Vieusseux. The meeting will be...

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Nicky Haslam

Nicky Haslam is founder of the London based interior design firm NH Design. A Lucky Life How would you describe yourself? I suppose I am stupidly fearless about doing things. I don’t panic if somebody says to me, “Do you sing?” I wasn’t panicked about going on stage....

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Colin Bailey

Colin B. Bailey is the Director of The Morgan Library & Museum. He was Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, before that Deputy Director and Chief Curator at The Frick Collection, and he is a specialist of 18th-19th century French art, especially...

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David Field

"Let's Work for Wildlife." David Field is the Zoological Director of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), where his previous positions include Curator of Mammals and Curator of Whipsnade. He is Chairman of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums...

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Esther Freud

The many lives of Esther Freud. Esther Freud, your last novel "Mr Mac and Me" is not autobiographical, but does it still have to do with your grandfather? Everything is a little bit autobiographical, that’s always for me what makes it interesting. I know some writers...

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Prince Michael of Greece

"Politics is the Greek passion from antiquity to modernity." Michel de Grèce sounds like a perfect “nom de plume” for a writer, but in your case it is your real name. How come? Because my family ruled Greece for a hundred years, and when we started we did not need a...

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Françoise Giroud

For the love of the devil. A kind butler lets me into Françoise Giroud’s large Parisian flat, which is not far from Les Invalides, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Seine. There are large piles of books in the entrance. Françoise Giroud is wearing what...

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Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras’ book, The North China Lover (published in France by Gallimard), became a literary sensation for two reasons. The first reason was that Duras left Éditions de Minuit, which published The Lover in 1984. That book won the Goncourt prize and sold more...

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Giordano Bruno Guerri

You need to create your life the way you create an artwork. Mr. Guerri is President of the Foundation “Il Vittoriale degli Italiani” on the Gardone Riviera. He is in London during the week of the 2015 Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show for a reception...

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Gaia Servadio

Tony Blair was more on the right than Thatcher. “When I think about Italian politics and corruption, I break out in hives.” Gaia Servadio lives in a typically British house in the Belgravia district of London, with a studio perched on a terrace where she writes and...

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Philippe de Montebello

"After 31 years as Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York I decided it was time to teach my long experience and the life of the work of art." Philippe de Montebello is in great shape, sitting comfortably in one of the salons of the New York University...

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Alberto Vitale

Book publishing is far from finished! Alberto Vitale, you were the Chairman and CEO of Random House, Inc. for ten years, from 1989 to 1998. Do you think that since then many things have changed in book publishing? Sure, many things, and the biggest change has been a...

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Alessandro Cassin

Centro Primo Levi recently launched CPL Editions, a new publishing enterprise at the historical New York Italian bookstore and publisher S.F. Vanni. The interview with Alessandro Cassin, Director of Publishing, took place at the recently reopened S.F. Vanni Bookstore...

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Lewis H. Lapham

In partnership with every age. Eight years ago you started a new magazine called Lapham's Quarterly. What is it about? It is about history. I believe with Faulkner that, "The past is never dead. It is not even past." I believe that history is an extraordinarily...

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Richard Deverell

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens' Director. Richard, can you describe the nature of your job? My job is to lead this extraordinary scientific and horticultural institution, and is very varied. It involves science, fundraising, the visitor attraction, and a lot of work...

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Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi

The Secrets of The Leopard - an interview with Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi. Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi welcomes me into his flat in the Palazzo Tomasi di Lampedusa in Via Butera 28 in Palermo. He has recently published a biography of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, his...

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Wilbur Smith

"Africa - my goldmine." Wilbur Smith is in Rome, staying in a very elegant suite on the top floor of a hotel in Trinità dei Monti. Spring has just begun, but he is already dressed in a beige cotton suit. He walks into the hotel wearing a Panama hat. He is smiling,...

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Helen Ghosh

Looking after special places, for ever, for everyone. Dame Helen, you are Director General of the National Trust. What is the National Trust? The National Trust is an organisation that has changed a lot in the last one hundred and twenty years. Its purpose is to...

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Elisabetta Sgarbi

THE INTERVIEW AS A LITERARY GENRE A self-interview along with Elisabetta Sgarbi, taken from a conversation between Alain Elkann and Elisabetta Sgarbi, who writes: “This piece was born from a game between me, the publisher, and Alain Elkann, an author of mine. I asked...

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Tony Little

Tony Little is Headmaster of Eton College. The Eton Headmaster’s guide to building character in male teenagers:- 1) Encourage them to aim high. 2) Celebrate their diverse individual achievements. 3) Give them genuine responsibility to take the lead. 4) Allow them to...

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Jacqueline Risset

Jacqueline Risset died on 4th September 2014. She was a poet and a poetical person. With her death we lose a voice, the voice of a woman of great culture and intelligence. With her angelic smile she was very attentive to the support of her friends, and to sharing with...

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Raffaele La Capria

Raffaele La Capria has started his summer holidays in the family home of his wife Ilaria Occhini, near Arezzo in Tuscany. But summer holidays mean very little to a writer. There are no particular rules or hours. Raffaele La Capria, what is a writer's role in Italy...

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Susan Sontag

"I am a foreigner in America. From the time I was a child, I dreamt of being somewhere else." Susan Sontag, in your latest book, you write that the United States is a country where one can always start over in life. Is that true? "It’s definitely a myth, but because...

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Cristina Acidini

I go to visit Dr Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage and the Museums of the City of Florence. I open a little door in a little street of Florence that divides the Palazzo Vecchio and the Vasarian building of...

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Giulio Einaudi

The young are strangers to their own past. This interview with Giulio Einaudi, doctor, author and founder of the Italian publishing house he built into a European wellspring of fine literature, intellectual thought and political theory, was made in February 1998....

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George Weidenfeld

Intolerance is more dangerous than Nazism or Fascism or Communism. We are having lunch in the bow-windowed living room in Lord Weidenfeld's beautiful apartment on Chelsea Embankment, overlooking the Thames. There are books everywhere, a piano, and Old Master paintings...

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Gore Vidal

Interview with an angry writer. Gore Vidal: “The Attorney General is nothing but a puppet. Let me tell you about this massive conspiracy.” Gore Vidal, you followed President Clinton's speech on TV at your house in Ravello. What do you think about it? In a few words,...

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Eric Hobsbawm

In the middle of the Ukraine Crimea Russia EU crisis after the declarations of President Obama, the world misses intelligent intellectuals like Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012), capable of understanding the many differences and nuances between the Western and the Eastern...

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Erica Jong

Erica, what is your view of what is happening in the feminine world? I think that more and more people are becoming aware that women’s rights are human rights. The smartest men understand well that when women are educated the economy goes up. Why? Because when women...

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Roberto Peregalli

The interview with Roberto Peregalli took place in Milan, the city where Peregalli works and has his office, just before he gave a public speech and a reading of his book at the Franco Parenti Theatre. Roberto, how would you define yourself? I like to be an architect...

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// FEATURED

ANITA PALLENBERG

Anita Pallenberg is an actress, model, and fashion designer. Born in Italy in 1944 she was the partner of the Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones and then the partner of Keith Richards. Anita, you have worked in the worlds of cinema, music and fashion. Would you define yourself as an eclectic person? I would say... READ MORE

// PUBLICATIONS

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