If you’re looking for literary inspiration, then look no further than Sicily. This picturesque Italian region has welcomed great authors who’ve been inspired by it in the past, and who can blame them?
Sicily is an island that offers stunning views of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea, breathtaking sceneries of Mount Etna, and well-preserved historical sites. Our feature on Villas in Sicily details how the island’s delicious cuisine, warm locals, and fabulous climate have made it a beloved destination, one that will surely inspire even more authors of every genre in the future. And if you want to fall in love with Sicily, then here are some famous authors who’ve captured its beauty and spirit in paper and ink.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa was the last Prince of Lampedusa, an island located 205 kilometres away from the south of Sicily. Tomasi turned to writing after the Lampedusa Palace was shattered into pieces as the Allied Powers took over Sicily.
Il Gattopardo, or the Leopard, is considered as one of the most important novels in Italian literature. Tomasi wrote a story that was set during the Risorgimento, a 19th century socio-political movement that led to the formation of the Kingdom of Italy. The book revolved around the aristocratic Salina family, who struggled to adapt to the social changes that were caused by the war. The Guardian emphasises the cultural importance of the novel, and highlights that its statement that “everything must change so that everything can stay the same” remains as an ironic adage that captures Italy and its rich history.
Delia Ephron is more famous as a screenwriter for the films You’ve Got Mail (1998) and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005). However, Delia is also a playwright, journalist, and bestselling author who has written famous works, such as the New York Times bestseller, Siracusa.
Delia stated that Sicily is the most magical place she’s ever visited. Almost a decade after her visit, she was inspired to write a novel that is named after Siracusa. The novel revolves around two couples who decided to go on a joint holiday that tests their marriages and their friendships. As the couples bask in the Mediterranean sun, they also get to explore the depth of their own emotions.
John Steinbeck is a talented writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 for his ability to intermingle sympathetic humour and keen social perception in realistic and imaginative literary pieces. This bestselling author had also written a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel entitled The Grapes of Wrath, which was published in 1939.
One of his most famous works, a novella entitled Of Mice and Men, was published in 1937. Gala Bingo recounted how the novella almost never saw the light of day because Steinbeck’s dog chewed the original manuscript. Readers are fortunate in that Steinbeck’s dog had become merciful to his other works, such as Once There Was a War. This collection of historical columns were written while Steinbeck travelled from England, North Africa, and, of course, Sicily as a correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. While in Sicily, Steinbeck captured an account of a small Sicilian town’s liberation.
Mario Puzo’s Godfather series is well-loved both as a book and film series. The first of this crime fiction series was rejected eight times before it was accepted by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Sicily is one of the settings in the third book, The Sicilian. The novel focuses on Salvatore Giuluiano, who Michael Corleone ushers from Sicily to the US. Salvatore then gains popularity as a bandit and becomes a hero to the Sicilians. Beyond depictions of gangster melodrama is a story that reflects the immigrant experience and the effects of greed.
Sicily has inspired these famous authors to write bestselling works. Just like them, you can feel energised and motivated by exploring the beauty of the Sicilian region.