“Books, essays and newspaper articles. I still have all my pieces”

“Books, essays and newspaper articles. I still have all my pieces”
“Books, essays and newspaper articles. I still have all my pieces”

“I always dedicate a lot of time to books, the same as I studied.” It is the declaration of love by Valerio Calzolaio, parliamentarian for four legislatures, journalist and writer. “I love reading, in particular – he adds – essays on history, science and detective stories.”

Shoemaker, who are the authors who have marked your world as a reader?

“Giacomo Leopardi, Antonio Gramsci whose “Letters from Prison” are now a classic, Charles Darwin who left for a five-year journey as soon as he graduated, the crime writer Ed McBain who wrote masterpieces.”

How much time do you spend writing?

“I started collaborating with Carlino when I was 16 years old, I remember that I had a monthly contract of 50 thousand lire. Since then I have always written for newspapers and magazines and I still have all my articles. I remember some important figures of those times such as Giancarlo Liuti , Mario Battistini, Ugo Bellesi, Alfredo Mattei”.

Do you remember an article from that experience?

“In 1974 I interviewed the owners of 250 businesses such as bars and artisans in the centre, I did a survey on pedestrianization and 50% were in favour”.

Is it true that reading is essential for writing better?

“Absolutely yes. You need to have the ability to communicate effectively without however running the risk, in this time characterized by social media, of being superficial, you need to think a little before writing, reread what is written. I’m not so interested in immediate impression that could prove premature, perhaps sometimes it would be to use an adverb like “maybe””.

Did you happen to talk about literature with any colleague when you were a member of parliament?

“In that world you read less than others, I don’t say this as a criticism or as a flaw, sometimes you just don’t have the time, I tried to take every opportunity to travel by train or plane to do it. In my time as a parliamentarian, yes he mostly talked to his colleagues about the impressions he got from the films.”

How much did the experience of undersecretary at the Ministry of the Environment 1996-2001 and as a UN-Unccd consultant (the convention to combat desertification of countries with drought problems) in 2002 and from 2006 to 2009 influence your activity as a writer?

“I have written many books and essays touching on topics such as electromagnetic and acoustic pollution, on environmental policies. Yes, those experiences had an influence and I tried to communicate them. During my last legislature we tried to collect what was written and eight folders of information came out articles, it is proof that I have always written a lot”.

On the one hand there is a committed author who writes and explores themes on prison and migration, a constitutional law scholar who taught at the university from 1990 to 1992, then there is the one passionate about noir: how these worlds coexist distant appearance?

“To engage in politics you need to read many essays, be informed. Fiction literature was an outlet. The turning point came when my life changed direction. In 2010 I presented the book on Eco-refugees in 70 Italian cities, which has become a small classic. And then I addressed the topic of migration, of prison islands.”

And then there is also the book Angulature noir.

“It is an invitation to read as well as a collection of essays written every week for Bo Live (magazine of the University of Padua)”.

Why is detective fiction considered a popular genre even though there are great authors, I’m thinking of Simenon for example?

“It is partly chosen because it sells a lot and because it is thought to be easy to write. With crime you think you have a thread of the story in your head, but in reality it is not at all easy to touch all the emotional registers.”

Which author brought a big innovation to the genre?

“It depends on the era. Some people trace crime back to Cain and Abel. There were some who had a capacity for innovation like Aghata Cristie who invented almost everything about crime plots with mathematical mechanisms linked to a few people.”

We often hear that a particular book is a masterpiece, but what is the indispensable element it must have?

“It must involve the reader in different emotional registers. In recent years there is Don Winslow who has written about them and in Italy there is De Cataldo with Romanzocriminali”.

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