Italo Calvino 1923-1984 Novelist and short story writer Italo Calvino was born in Cuba on October 15, 1923, and grew up in Italy, graduating from the University of Turin in 1947. He is remembered for his distinctive style of fables. Much of his first work was political, including Il Sentiero dei Nidi di Ragno (The Path of the Nest Spiders, 1947), considered one of the main novels of neorealism. In the 1950s, Calvino began to explore fantasy and myth as extensions of realism. Il Visconte Dimezzato (The Cloven Knight, 1952), concerns a knight split in two in combat who continues to live on as two separates, one good and one bad, deprived of the link which made them a moral whole. In Il Barone Rampante (Baron in the Trees, 1957), a boy takes to the trees to avoid eating snail soup and lives an entire, fulfilled life without ever coming back down. Calvino was awarded an honorary degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1984 and died in 1985, following a cerebral hemorrhage. At the time of his death, he was the most translated contemporary Italian writer and a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Zoe Heller has been a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a staff member of the London Sunday Times, the Times Supplement, Esquire, Vogue, the London Review of Books and The New York Times. Her 2003 novel, What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal, earned tremendous acclaim, including a spot on the short list for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The audio release coincided with the 2007 film adaptation, Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. She was born and educated in Britain and now divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and Bucks County, PA.Tim Parks studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He lives near Verona with his wife and three children. His novel Europa was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Judge Savage was longlisted in 2003.