A novelist and literary critic, he was born in Bari in 1973 and has directed the Turin International Book Fair since October 2016. He defines his work as a writer as "a middle ground between a scientist and an exorcist". He made his debut in 2001 with "Tre sistemi per sbarazzarsi di Tolstoj", a love story set in contemporary Rome, with the protagonist's bizarre confidant: Leo Tolstoy. With this novel, Lagioia turns a conventional plot into "a machine for the destruction of literary clichés", making himself known due to the originality of the work. His second novel, "Occidente per principianti" (2004), is a vivid and many-voiced novel featuring a journalist with few prospects, a student and a film-maker threatened by creditors who are hunting for the supposed first love of Rodolfo Valentino, showing us a country that is obsessed with the anxiety of appearance. After "Riportando tutto a casa" (2009, Premio Viareggio-Rèpaci, Premio Vittorini, Premio Volponi), 2014 saw the release of "La ferocia", the result of a long drafting period justified by the author saying, "Hemingway said that you should always experience what you write about. I don't think you necessarily need to have lived it, but we must have deserved it. If I write about a murderer, I have to put myself in his shoes. And all of this takes time". Starting with a girl being hit and killed on a desolate spring night in Puglia, Lagioia's noir slowly reveals the origins of the victim (a high-ranking family from Bari with morbid secrets and conflicts) and manages to weave the intricate and ruthless depiction of an (extra)ordinary family from the South. This book won the author the Premio Strega 2015.
(photo: © Leonardo Cendamo)